Christchurch Boys’ High first XV captain Max Hughes will join an exclusive club as he looks to help his side book a semi-final spot on Saturday.
When CBHS travel to Lincoln Combined on Saturday, Hughes will become just the fourth player since 2000 to play 50 games for the school.
He will join Crusaders midfielder Tim Bateman (2003-2005), former Highlanders No 8 Nasi Manu (2004-2006) and Louie Chapman, who captained last year’s UC Championship-winning side.
The final round match carries extra significance. Fourth-placed CBHS (45pts) need to win the match to confirm a spot in next week’s semi-finals.
After a patchy start to the season, which included a 12-40 loss to St Thomas’, CBHS have turned their season around with impressive recent wins over St Bede’s College, St Andrew’s College and Rangiora High School.
“At the start of the season, we didn’t really know our brand of rugby . . . last year we had a few bigger bodies, but now we’ve realised we’re a small, skilful team we’ve found our style. I think that’s what changed the season around,” said Hughes.
Two other matches on Saturday will help shape what is a wide open final day race for a semi-final spot. Only high flying Nelson College (55pts) are assured of remaining in the top four.
If fifth-placed Christ’s College (43pts) are able to get a bonus point win over Timaru Boys’ High at noon then second-placed St Andrew’s (48pts) will need to secure at least one point from their trip to play third-placed St Bede’s (47pts) at 2.45pm. A loss for St Bede’s could also see them slip outside the top four.
•The UC Championship final is set to be played at Rugby Park or Trafalgar Park in Nelson, depending on which team is the top seed.