Are the 2017 Jubilee Cup champions in even stronger shape than last year?
On Saturday, Old Boys University thrashed Hutt Old Boys Marist 48-16 to soar to the top of the Swindale Shield standings with three rounds remaining. The Goats won the second-half 34-0, despite losing five forwards throughout the match.
“Our game knowledge is better than what it was at the equivalent time last year, but we haven’t gelled as well off the field yet because of all the personnel changes,” Morgan Poi responds.
It’s a good thing the students “game knowledge” is superior because Poi sounds like an exhausted doctor when sharing the diagnosis of his fallen comrades.
“We lost Jonathan Fuimaono and Sam Coventry before kick-off. Fui got a calf strain and Sam, who we call pins, an infection which put him in hospital. What’s not wrong with Devan Candy? He’s been the walking wounded all season and did an ankle. I’m not sure what happened to our lock Sam, but perhaps he was feeling a bit Green.”
Poi left the field with about half an hour left?
“I dislocated my left shoulder. It happend after a carry went wrong. The psysio come on and tried to pop it back in, but it was buggered. I’m out for a few weeks,” Poi mourns.
Injuries at inopportune moments have been a regular theme in Poi’s rugby career. The most crippling blow was in 2015 when a member of the Hurricanes Development squad.
“I was selected for the New Zealand Under-20’s for the Oceania Championship, but three days earlier I injured my spleen in a Development game. I went to hospital and they said nothing was wrong. Three days later I was still in pain and it was discovered the arteries in my spleen were bleeding,” Poi recalls.
A shockingly dangerous injury which eventually repairs itself took the best part of a year to recover from.
“Mentally that injury took its toll because I couldn't do a lot. I had to take it easy and be careful not to strain myself. There were a lot of days I just spent in bed,” Poi laments.
Poi is an explosive 122 kg prop whose aggressive restlessness makes a papble impact for the Goats, just ask Jerome Harimate!
Born in Tikitiki, a small East Coast town roughly 90 miles from Gisborne. His parents Roanee (a school teacher) and Billy (a Telco employee) relocated to Napier so Morgan could be educated at Napier Boys’ High School. Poi was a member of the 2011 and 2012 First XV’s who attended the National Top Four.
Further success followed with the OBU Colts who went through the 2013 and 2014 seasons unbeaten.
“My main position is loosehead, but like most props I want to be a loose forward so I told a white lie and said I was a No.8 until I was found out,” Poi laughs.
Poi has played 33 games for the Prems and scored five tries. He came off the bench in the Jubilee Cup final last year and has even managed to keep his loose forward dream alive.
“I’ve played a few games covering for injures in the loose. I like it,” Poi enthuses.
Poi has played three matches for Ngati Porou East Coast in the Heartland Championship. Poi is employed by Hawkins construction and enjoys diving and hunting in his spare time. He has three younger sisters including Kimiora Poi who plays professional netball for the Canterbury Tactix. Poi is a member of the Wellington Lions wider training group and aspires to become the second pro sportsman in the family.
Evidently OBU used 56 players in 22 games last season. In 2018 they have already used 41 players.
The last club to win three consecutive Swindale Shield titles was Marist St Pats in 1996. Old Boys University will look to preserve their three point lead when they travel to Paremata-Plimmerton on Saturday.