CHAMPIONS SCHOOLS YEAR 8 NATIONAL FINAL
ST JOSEPH’S (NEWPORT) 38 TEMPLE MOOR (LEEDS) 28
By Ian Golden at Twickenham Stoop
St Joseph’s RC School from Newport wrote a piece of Welsh history on Friday afternoon after beating the more experienced Temple Moor School from Leeds 38-28 to become National Year 8 Rugby League Champions.
It’s the first time that a Welsh school has won any national Champions Schools Rugby League competition in six years and while the last school to do so, Brynteg of Bridgend, made stars of Rhys and Ben Evans, St Joseph’s have their own twins in Rollin and Elvis Menayese who scored all the St Joseph’s points between them.
Rollin led the way and rightly won man of the match with his five tries and five conversions while Elvis chipped in with a brace of touchdowns of his own.
The overwhelmed Rollin was delighted at his 30-point hall saying: “It feels amazing, it’s the best feeling in the world. It was worth all of those games in the wet and cold to come and play at a Stadium like this. It’s the first time I’ve ever played at a proper ground. It was a great atmosphere.
“It was good to even get this far but to win the game is amazing. I hope we can do it all again next year but there’s a lot of hard work that we need to put in before then.”
There was just one minute gone in the first of the two 25 minute halves, and St Josephs took the lead when from a scrum, Rollin Menayese broke through to run under the sticks before converting himself.
His brother Elvis looked to have broke through for a second straight away but the referee pulled him back after being judged to have stepped in touch.
But the Newport lads gave away the ball from a scrum following an infringement and Temple Moor fought back, Harvey Hallas scoring after a good set of six. Jonny Hynes converted.
And the English took the lead four minutes later when Luke Barraclough broke through from short range. Hynes kicked well to make the score 12-6.
St Joseph’s levelled on 15 minutes when Rollin Menayese picked up a loose ball and ran 60 metres to ground and goaling again.
Temple Moor regained the lead on 19 minutes when following an error from kick-off then a scrum, Hallas ran through from dummy half. Hynes converted again.
And it was 24-12 when Roy Railton was allowed to run through a far too large hole in the St Joseph’s defence and Hynes added the extras.
Elvis Menayese tried to get a score back, going on another of his mazy runs but again, this time more obviously, he stepped into touch and the chance was lost.
Temple Moor missed an easy chance to go 30-12 up just before the hooter when an unmarked Jacob Thompson failed to ground following Hynes’ grubber.
But they did score their fifth try five minutes into the second half when Railton’s strength and speed eased him past the Newport defence to score in the corner. Hynes missed the kick on this occasion.
St Joseph’s fight back started when Rollin Menayese stole the ball and ran unchallenged under the sticks for his hat-trick, converting again.
And from the restart, Elvis Menayese ran 80 metres for another try back. Rollin’s kick went just wide of the post.
With eight minutes remaining on the clock, St Joseph’s levelled, once again through wonder-kid Rollin, running through the tiring Leeds defence beating everyone to score under the posts and converting.
In the final five minutes, the game could have gone either way. Temple Moor winger Danny Quarmby missed an excellent chance to give his side the win when he fumbled the ball when going for the line.
And St Joseph’s made them pay. With three minutes remaining, Rollin Menayese dived over from dummy half for his fifth try and converted again.
Miraculously he was denied a sixth in the final minute as was tackled with 20 metres to go on another long run, but from the next play, Elvis went on another of his runs from centre to wing to ground in the corner.
“It was a tough win,” said St Joseph’s coach Stefan Sankala, who has turned out for Cardiff Demons and Wales Students in his playing career. “It crept away from us at the end of the first half when we were three tries down but to be fair, we kept plugging away and managed to get a couple of tries to get back into it. I’m really proud of all of the lads today who did their bit not just for St Joseph’s and Newport but for Wales.”
1. Dan Buttler
2. Jack Hobbs
3. Max Williams
4. Elvis Menayese
15. Andrew Ogun
6. Jordan Davies
7. Jack Canavan
8. Keenan Bird
9. Tom Davies
5. Brad Yearsley
16. Dan Ralphs
12. Emerson Clarke
13. Rollin Menayese
14. Arad Samsanov
10. Sean Conlan
11. Jo Fullwood
17. Matt Waters
Tries: Rollin Menayese (1, 15, 33, 42, 47), Elvis Menayese (36, 50)
Goals: Rollin Menayese 5/7
1. Brad Sutcliffe
2. Danny Quarmby
3. Harvey Hallas
4. Luke Barraclough
5. Tom Whitaker
6. Jacob Thompson
7. Josh-John Thompson
8. Jonny Hynes
9. Mackenzie Colley
10. Roy Railton
11. Nathan Cooper
12. Ben Wright
13. Brad Coates
14. Tom Norfolk
15. Ben Goddard
16. Jimmy Malthouse
17. Adam Waring
Tries: Hallas (7, 19), Barraclough (11), Railton (22, 30)
Goals: Hynes 4/5