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CBS Canterbury Division 1
Christchurch is the winner of the CBS Canterbury Cup for 2009 after going through the competition undefeated.
In one of the matches of the season so far, they beat Burnside 28-27 last weekend after being down 27-14 with only seven minutes remaining.
This was a vastly improved performance by Burnside after drawing with Lincoln University last weekend, although Christchurch did very well to come back.
“There were two things that helped us win it,” Christchurch co-coach Brad Mooar says. “We have a really good team spirit and we displayed that against Burnside. We really believe in ourselves and in our ability to come back.
“Also, we have done a lot of work in not panicking under pressure. For example, when we got to 27-21 with only a few minutes left our hooker Will Hurst got the guys together and calmly said that we needed a converted try to win the match and that we could do it.”
Although Christchurch had won the Cup before the start of the match, there was still plenty to play for: the DCL Shield was still on the line, while the promise of an undefeated round was also very motivating.
“We hadn’t seen Burnside play and so we didn’t know how they had gone in recent weeks beyond what other people had told us,” Brad says. “If they hadn’t gone well against Lincoln University last week it would have only fired them up more to play well against us.”
Christchurch’s win was the more remarkable when you consider that they needed two converted tries within the space of less than 10 minutes to win the match and remain undefeated.
First it was Sam Monaghan (Pictured) who scored after a nice little grubber-kick through by Jason Merrett. Then, a slashing break by Steve Alfeld (who was playing first five-eight) led to Merrett winning the game for Christchurch with the conversion.
“The irony is that we scored more points playing in to the wind than what we did with it,” Brad says of their performance in the second half. “That often happens in rugby as when you are playing with the wind you sometimes expect the wind to do all the work for you.”
Christchurch now goes into the Trophy round with enormous confidence and self-belief. “One of our goals, lofty as it was, was to remain unbeaten in the first round,” Brad says. “We have managed to do that and nobody can take the Cup off us (this season). While our performances have been satisfying to date, we have to keep focused and keep improving in the second round.”
While captain Hadleigh Parkes has a shoulder injury and Pete Bowden a knee injury, Christchurch still has plenty of depth. While they have the bye this weekend, they will face Sydenham, Burnside, Lincoln University and Marist-Albion in their Trophy group respectively.
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