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News > Collegians > A ‘Super’ Clash with Collegians

A ‘Super’ Clash with Collegians

The 2024 grand final of Super Rugby will feature a remarkable convergence of Collegians from St Paul’s Collegiate School.
18 Jun 2024
Collegians
Collegians Vern Cotter, Samisoni Taukei’aho and George Dyer
Collegians Vern Cotter, Samisoni Taukei’aho and George Dyer

St Paul's Collegians will find themselves on opposite sides of the field in what promises to be an epic showdown. Vern Cotter (School 1975 - 1978), the coach of The Blues, will pit the team against The Chiefs whose semi-final against the Hurricanes featured Collegians George Dyer (Sargood 2013 - 2017) and All Black Samisoni Taukei’aho (Sargood 2013-2015), the latter sidelined for the game due to an injury.

Vern Cotter

Vern Cotter, a former player and now a coach, has carved a career that spans decades and continents. Vern played for Counties Manukau for ten years before making a mark in France. His coaching journey began in 1999 with Bay of Plenty, leading them to a Second Division championship in his first year. Vern's tactical skills were showcased during his time with the Crusaders, where he contributed to their Super Rugby titles in 2005 and 2006.

His international acclaim grew with ASM Clermont Auvergne in France, guiding them to multiple Top 14 finals and securing a title in 2010. Vern’s coaching also shone with the Scotland national team, leading them to the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals in 2015. Vern transitioned through various roles, including a stint with the Fiji national team before joining The Blues in 2023.

Vern’s experience and leadership have been instrumental in their journey to the final. “I’m really happy with the team’s progress. We’ve prepared well and are ready for the challenge ahead,” Vern stated after their recent semifinal victory.

Samisoni Taukei’aho

Samisoni Taukei’aho, an All Black and key player for The Chiefs, has had an impressive season. Unfortunately, an Achilles injury in the semifinal has ruled him out of the final clash. Moving from Tonga to New Zealand for schooling and rugby opportunities, he quickly became a standout player for St Paul’s First XV, earning selections for various representative teams.

Described in the media as a “rampaging hooker,” Samisoni is a mobile player who is not unfamiliar with being a try scorer. During the game against the Reds this year, he scored two of the six Chiefs’ tries, reminiscent of his All Blacks debut in 2021, where he also scored twice. Despite his injury, Samisoni remains a crucial figure in The Chiefs’ lineup, with his presence undoubtedly missed on the field. “It’s unfortunate not just for us but for him,” remarked Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan, highlighting the setback for both the team and Samisoni’s All Blacks prospects.

George Dyer

George Dyer, a prop for The Chiefs, has steadily risen through the ranks. Joining the team as an injury replacement in 2022, George made his mark and secured a full-time contract by 2023. His consistent performances have earned him a spot in the All Blacks XV squad, showcasing his potential on the international stage. The All Blacks XV serves as a critical high-performance pathway to the All Blacks. 

George scored his first try in the Gallagher Chiefs jersey in Dunedin against the Highlanders. Both Samisoni and George played together in the 2015 First XV at St Paul's. 

St Paul’s Collegians look forward to celebrating these Super Rugby contributors during the 2024 finals this weekend

Other Super Collegians

This year has seen a number of other Collegians participate in Super Rugby:

  • Tom Franklin (Sargood 2004 - 2008): The Force
  • Gideon Wrampling (Clark 2018 - 2019) The Chiefs
  • Malachi Wrampling (Clark | Hall 2018 - 2021): The Chiefs
  • Fergus Burke (Williams 2013 - 2017): The Crusaders (moving to London-based club Saracens)

 

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