It was the Billy Goats’ biggest test of the season and they passed with flying colours.
Against the top-of-the-table Hutt Old Boys Marist, Old Boys University delivered a quite remarkable second half of rugby to thump the Eagles 48-16 at Nairnville Park to earn top spot on the Swindale Shield ladder.
The second forty brought about 34 unanswered points from the hosts, built on strong goal-line defence, a helpful tailwind and deft finishing from Tomasi Palu who crossed for four tries on the afternoon.
It was the Eagles who had the assistance of the breeze in the opening forty and they quickly shot out to a 6-0 lead, making the most of their territory and possession.
Palu opened OBU’s account with a try under the sticks after Sam Reid made a break when returning a 22 drop-out, linking up with his halfback to scoot away for the first try of the match.
HOBM replied through lock Daniel Corderoy but Palu would score again shortly after, this time finishing off an Agustin Escalona bust.
Down 16-14 at the half, the Goats got the second stanza underway in the best way possible as Palu pushed his way over the chalk from close range, shortly before scoring his fourth in the 48th minute in similar fashion.
Hutt did their best to find a response but stern goal-line defence held the Eagles out with Paddy Carter making the relieving steal.
Dale Sabbagh, who finished the day with 23 points, then scored OBU’s fifth try of the day after a lovely Joe Hill offload before OBU’s red-zone defence again flexed its muscle, resisting another lengthy HOBM barrage.
Cody Quin rounded out the day with another try for the Goats after the hooter to put an exclamation mark on the Goats’ bumper day, putting them three points above Norths atop the Swindale Shield standings.
OBU travel to Norths in a fortnight’s time, though next week is a match-up against the in-form Paremata-Plimmerton who today upset Poneke 25-11. Next week’s game is at Ngatitoa Domain, kicking off at 2.45pm.