FLASHBACK | Kelston Boys' High School v St Paul's College in the inaugural College Rugby League Premier First XIII grand final at Mount Smart Stadium last year. Image | www.photosport.co.nz

Some of New Zealand rugby league’s most promising players, including a number already contracted to the Vodafone Warriors, will feature when St Paul’s College meets Kelston Boys’ High School in Auckland’s College Rugby League First XIII Competition final at Mount Smart Stadium today (12.05pm kick-off).

The final, a repeat of last year’s inaugural CRL decider, kicks off a tripleheader at Mount Smart followed by the NYC clash between the Vodafone Junior Warriors and Cronulla (1.45pm kick-off) and the NRL encounter between the two clubs (4.00pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Bendon Man).

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Defending champion St Paul’s, the most successful rugby league school in the country, reached the final by beating Manurewa High School in the semi-finals while Kelston advanced after eliminating Mount Albert Grammar School.

St Paul’s claims an impressive array of former pupils who went on to play – or are still playing – top level rugby league.

Those who have played at first-grade level for the Vodafone Warriors include Stacey Jones, Joe Vagana, Francis Meli, Nigel Vagana, Evarn Tuimavave, Elijah Taylor, Pita Godinet and Shannon Stowers.

St Paul’s products in the Vodafone Warriors’ current NRL squad are the just-retired Jerome Ropati, Sione and Sam Lousi, Siliva Havili and John Palavi. Two others are New South Wales Cup regulars Agnatius Paasi – who made his NRL debut recently – and Michael Sio.

Jones coaches this year’s NYC side which also includes St Paul’s College products Bradley Abbey, Toafofoa Sipley and Bunty Afoa.

Others who have played at NRL or Super League level or are still active have included David Solomona, Phillip Leuluai, Ben Te’o, former Vodafone Junior Warriors Nafe Seluini and Sosaia Feki, Mark Taufua, Manu Mau and Greg Wolfgramm.

The roll of honour also boasts an impressive list of Kiwi internationals such as Mark Graham, Dane O’Hara, Mark Elia, Stacey Jones, Joe Vagana, Nigel Vagana, David Solomona, Jerome Ropati, Evarn Tuimavave, Francis Meli and Elijah Taylor as well as others who have represented Samoa and Tonga.

Included in the St Paul’s side today are halfback Beau Cordtz, whose uncle is rugby league legend and Vodafone Warriors great Ruben Wiki, as well as Stanmore Palavi, John Palavi’s younger brother.

Kelston’s sporting heritage is impressive, too, especially in rugby union.

In rugby league the school won the final at last year’s NZRL Secondary Schools Nationals, beating Mount Albert Grammar in the decider.

A number of its old boys have made their mark in rugby league notably Awen Guttenbeil, Duane Mann, Jarrod McCracken and Va’aiga Tuigamala while Ben Henry, Suaia Matagi and Tuimoala Lolohea, all lining up for the Vodafone Warriors in today’s NRL clash against Cronulla, are Kelston BHS ex-pupils as is 2014 NRL rookie David Fusitu’a. Others have included Epalahame Lauaki, Patrick Ah Van, Apollo Perelini, Matt Rua, Iosia Soliola, Bill Tupou, James Gavet and Misi Taulapapa.   

Kelston is celebrating its diamond jubilee 60th anniversary this year and has a roll of just under 1000 students.

It has a proud tradition of sporting success with more than 30 national and Auckland titles.

Another of Kelston’s notable achievers is former principal Graham Henry, who guided the All Blacks to rugby union glory when they won the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

 

ST PAUL’S COLLEGE v KELSTON BOYS’ HIGH SCHOOL

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

12.05pm, Sunday, August 10

 

ST PAUL’S COLLEGE

1 JAMES MANOA

2 GERAR VILI (v/c)

3 SCOTT TOFA-TIMOTEO (c)

4 JUSTUS AREAIITI

5 UASI LEOTA

6 FINAU PAYNE

7 BEAU CORDTZ

8 VICTOR VAKAMEILALO

9 XAVIER RICE

10 JUNIOR SAVELIO

11 ELIJAH ALEFAIO

12 AMONI TUFUI

13 MARYN MURRAY

Interchange:         

14 SOANE HUFANGA

15 SEAN TOFA-TIMOTEO

16 STANMORE PALAVI

17 BILLY VALU

18 SIONE NGAHE

COACH: JUNIOR FIU

ASSISTANT COACH: PHIL SARGEANT

MANAGER: BRIAN STEPHENSON

STRAPPER/TRAINER: JASON MCCARTHY

PHYSIOTHERAPIST: DILLON LAL

 

KELSTON BOYS’ HIGH SCHOOL

1 JUNIOR PAUGA

2 PETER SCANLON

3 ONOSAI NANAI

4 CHARLIE KAIPATI

5 TUPU LISATA

6 AUSTIN MASIUTAMA

7 ZION IOKA

8 AIDEN IOANE

9 UTAH IOKA

10 SAM FELETI

11 AIDEN TAUA

12 EDUARD WULF

13 SHANE HANNAM (JONAS HENNINGS)

Interchange:

14 RUPENI BALE (SHUTE KEY)

15 DELANEY CHANEY-PUATA 

16 JONAS HENNINGS

17 ALEX SELE

18 MARQUS RAURAA

19 KYLE BLUNKELL

COACH: PHIL GORDON

TRAINER: POLIMA SIAKI AND NAGIWI WALKER

MANAGERS: SHARON MACKEY AND TONI HUMPHREYS