NSW Schools: Waverley, Knox & Barker battle for CAS supremacy in final round
Three teams are still a chance of claiming the 2017 CAS 1st XV title heading into the final weekend of matches.
Waverley can claim the outright premiership with a win over Knox at Queens Park tomorrow, but the two schools will share the title if Knox get the points.
If Knox win and Barker also defeat Cranbrook, Waverley, Knox and Barker will all share the 2017 premiership.
There has been a number of surprises already this season and there could be plenty more to come this weekend.
While Waverley are in the box seat heading into the final round, coach Scott Coleman told Rugby News the title is far from sealed.
“We only deserve it if we win this weekend,” Coleman said.
“If Knox can come to Queens Park and beat us at home in our final home game, then they certainly deserve part of that premiership but it won’t be easy for either side.”
Besides a tight 15-14 win over Barker in round three, Waverley have scored on average more than 50 points in competition matches so far this year.
“We’ve strung together some good performances and the boys have grown in confidence each week but I think they’re just having fun. That’s the main things and it shows on the field,” Coleman said.
“We don’t play overly structured rugby and while the other teams might try and analyse our game, I couldn’t tell you what we’re going to do on Saturday. We just let the guys play what is in front of them and enjoy their footy and so far this year, it’s worked.”
Despite their impressive attacking record, Coleman said Waverley don’t spend a lot of time with ball in hand during the week.
“We actually spend more time focussing on our defence than our attack but out motto is: if our defence works, our attack will come. In the end, we’re confident that we can defend our line, defend near the ruck and defend out wide and eventually we’ll get the ball and play some footy.”
That defence proved vital back in round three when Barker almost caused a major boil over and derailed Waverley’s premiership hopes.
“Our defensive performance was incredible that day. The Barker boys just kept coming and coming but we managed to hold them up over the line a couple of times in the first half. Barker were great and showed plenty of heart but fortunately for us, we found a way to win.
Waverley welcome back 2017 Australian Schoolboys Finn Wright and Luca Moretti to their starting XV for the Knox clash but Coleman still thinks his side will need to produce their best performance of the year on Saturday.
“Knox have quality all over the park. They’ve got a very strong line out, they’re strong at set piece and they’ve got a really good flyhalf Woodcock, who will distribute and organise well, so we’ve just got to back our defence and then hopefully the points will come.”
While a dry pitch on Saturday may suit attacking rugby, the coach said he expected a tough, tight battle and admitted the result could go either way.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to 30 kids who love playing for their school and want to do everything they can to win. Everyone on that field has worked really hard to be there so you can never underestimate any side in this competition,” Coleman said.
“These are the type of matches that players never forget. Most of them will go on and play colts, but they’ll never get an opportunity to play together with their mates like they will on Saturday so that should be motivation enough.”
Waverley and Knox kick off at 3:15pm at Queens Park.
Photo: Waverley Sport