Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rugby: Tenacious Tauranga Boys' triumphant

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Tauranga Boys' College midfielders Manaia Harawira, left, and Will Ngatai in action against St Paul's Collegiate at Nicholson Field on Saturday. Photo / Andrew Warner
Tauranga Boys' College midfielders Manaia Harawira, left, and Will Ngatai in action against St Paul's Collegiate at Nicholson Field on Saturday. Photo / Andrew Warner

Tauranga Boys' College First XV served notice they will be a competitive force this season after a meritorious 17-12 win over St Paul's Collegiate at Nicholson Field on Saturday.

The University of Waikato Chiefs Cup victory was Tauranga's third pool match after a 26-14 loss to Wesley College and 55-20 victory over New Plymouth's Francis Douglas College.

St Paul's were confident of a rare win at Nicholson Field after beating Wesley last week but they were rocked in the opening 10 minutes by Tauranga Boys' accuracy and pace.

An early 3-0 lead became 8-0 after an intercept try to winger Sione Faiva from the first possession St Paul's had.

Tauranga Boys' went further ahead after 22 minutes when outstanding blindside flanker Israel Moke took toll of poor marking from a defensive lineout to crash over untouched.

St Paul's kicked a penalty to get on the board then with the final play of the first half, they looked likely to run away to score until a superb cover tackle from halfback Leroy Carter.

In the second half, a fired up St Paul's side quickly closed the gap to 13-10 after a forward drive over the line.

Tauranga Boys' fullback Cole Forbes kicked a penalty to open a six-point gap which they only just held after St Paul's spilled the ball forward a metre short of the goalline.

The rest of the half was tightly contested with goal kickers swapping penalties for the final score of 19-10.

Tauranga Boys' had plenty of heroes. The powerful midfield combination of Manaia Harawira and captain Will Ngatai was a constant threat while openside flanker Flynn Kelly defended superbly around the fringes.

Tauranga Boys' have a new coaching team this season with former provincial players Dan Goodwin and Richard Apanui joining Steve Kelly.

Head coach Goodwin, who is an old boy of the school, was pleased with his team's performance.

"The belief in the boys was there. They trained really well all week and they believed in our systems and they stuck to them. That was the difference I think," he said.

Goodwin is confident he has the makings of a strong squad.

"We have a really good bunch of young men here. Each week our aim is to improve and they are improving but we are not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We will take each week as it comes.

"We have a tough game next week against either Hamilton Boys' or Rotorua Boys' that will see us well into the start of the Super Eight."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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