It wasn't the season opener a new-look MSP premier team was seeking as they went down 15-19 to a committed Old Boys University on 7 April (see the video highlights below).
For most of the match the team played like they were suffering sun stroke on a glorious autumn day at Evans Bay, and it was only in the last 15 minutes they began playing with enough passion to snatch what would have been an unlikely win. OBU hung on however, and fully deserved their three tries to nil victory to reclaim the Jack Lamason Trophy.
MSP scored first with a Fa'atonu Fili penalty after five minutes. His kicking was one of home team's few highlights. He landed five penalties during the afternoon, one a superb sideline effort, to collect MSP's player-of-the-day award.
OBU however ran in two good tries in the first half, seemingly opening up MSP with ease. They were a far different side in personnel and attitude to the team MSP defeated six-tries-to-one two weeks ago in a pre-season match. Playing with committment and dominating territory and possession, the 12-12 halftime scoreline did not fairly reflect OBU's superiority.
A good patch by MSP 15 minutes into the second half was rewarded with another Fa'atonu penalty to edge MSP ahead, but 10 minutes later OBU scored the decisive try. The sideline conversion gave them a crucial four-point buffer. As MSP hammered away in the final 10 minutes, they had to turn down kickable penalties to gain a five-pointer. It wasn't to be and, as new captain Arden David said in his aftermatch comments, the home team were 'out passioned'.
In the early games, the senior 1s notched up a 17-6 win over OBU's senior 1s, while the senior 2s went down to OBU 10-19.
Here's the video highlights of the prem's game: