Matt Whaanga joined some illustrious company on Saturday with a stunning 60-point haul in a First XV game.
Whaanga (16) scored 10 tries and kicked five conversions for South Otago High School in a pre-season 70-5 win over James Hargest College at the Balclutha Showgrounds.
The strapping centre joined an exclusive club of players to have reached 60 points in a First XV game in the South that, as far as the Otago Daily Times can see, includes just one other: Jeff Wilson, who posted 66 points for Cargill High School against Hargest in 1992.
”It was pretty good. Things just seemed to go my way,” Whaanga said yesterday.
”I didn’t really have a clue how many points I’d scored but I thought I might have been getting close to 10 tries.”
Whaanga, a year 12 pupil who stands about 1.85m and weighs 95kg, thought his team-mates were ”pretty happy” to help him rack up so many points.
His father, Adam, coaches the South Otago High School First XV and said his son’s haul reflected the team’s performance.
”It just sort of happened. Most of the tries were due to good, clean ball. The forwards were giving him some great ball to work with. Matt was just on the end of good teamwork.”
Matt’s haul would have been higher had he not missed seven shots at goal. Some of his conversion attempts were from the sideline, and a couple were rushed because the tee – run out by younger brother Josh (9) – was a little late arriving.
”There’s a little bit of friction in the household,” Adam Whaanga joked.
Matt Whaanga was a national junior motocross champion in 2008 but has given up riding to focus on rugby.
There was no time to bask in his achievements at the weekend. He and his team-mates were cutting firewood to raise money for a trip to Australia next week.
Two other prolific scoring efforts have been recorded in the South in recent years. Kelly Brazier scored 64 points (10 tries) for Alhambra-Union in a women’s club game in 2009, and Ben Miller scored 50 points in his first start for the Otago Boys’ High School First XV, against James Hargest, in 2012.
Original story on the Otago Daily Times.