Four pronged coaching set-up did work for Old Boys

Like all finals, the contrasting emotions between winners and losers is stark.

You would have to have a pretty cold heart not to feel for Inglewood’s players as they watched Logan Rei’s sideline conversion curl back and fall between the posts, just seconds before referee Paul Williams blew for no side during the weekend’s premier club final.

Clear underdogs heading into the match, Inglewood, as they always seem to do, had given it everything they had.

They were desperate on defence, punishing in their contact and, for the most part, pretty calm under pressure.

Captain Berny Hall’s face summed up the effort they had put in. Bleeding, eyes swollen from foul or fair play against him, Hall looked as though someone had snatched something pretty special away from him.

Old Boys had, of course. They’d stolen a final that probably deserved to go to Inglewood.

They had done to them what they did to Tukapa a week prior.

That was no consolation. There was little to be positive about as they stood like drought affected cattle opposite a group who could not hide their elation.

Reflection will come and go over the next few days, even weeks, and at some time they will realise they gave everything they had but just came up short.

Old Boys would have been equally downcast had Jackson Carrington not snuck over to score in the corner and Rei managed to land a kick of a lifetime because they really had set the standard through 2015.

Like it or not, they were deserving champions.

There were plenty of people around the province who were quick to poke a stick at the club’s decision to name Michael Carr, Paul Tito, Scott Ireland and Phil Mitchell as co-coaches.

It is rare to have a quartet of coaches at club level and critics who suggested that it wouldn’t work because of the individual strengths or personality or the fact that players would be overloaded with ideas flying at them were found to be wrong.

Up until Saturday’s final, Old Boys had found clear cohesion between forwards and backs. To a man they could all run effectively with the ball, pass with precision and create try scoring opportunities.

You don’t score 76 tries in a season if you don’t know how to play the game.

Aside from a couple of blips, most notably a first round loss to Inglewood, Old Boys were better than their opposition.

They also played attractive and positive rugby, while they were also willing to chance their arm.

From the outside looking in they also appeared to be a team that set pretty high standards, not only on the field.

That was probably more important than many people think because they were a youthful side that probably needed some clear direction, especially early in the season.

They also won the the title without some of their stars who were prominent when available.

Take out men like Riki Hoeata, Codey Rei and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi from other sides in the competition and they would struggled.

Old Boys trusted their depth, were not afraid to give rookies a chance and they got the rewards.

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