Mount Maunganui College First XV produced their best performance of the season to beat Rotorua's Western Heights High School by 17-16 in wet and slippery conditions at home.
It was Mount Maunganui's first win in the second round of the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Secondary Schools division one competition and continues the team's improvement this season. In round one Western Heights won the same fixture by 45 points.
Mount Maunganui started strongly and led 10-3 at halftime after an early try to tighthead prop Navah Tui and accurate goalkicking by first-five Daniel Puschard. But Western Heights came storming back with a try in the opening play of the second half to tie the game 10-10.
Leini Hakaumotu then scored the crucial try before two late penalties by the visitors led to a few anxious moments before the final whistle.
Mount Maunganui coach James Woodford said the key to his team's win was the work done at the breakdown by his loose forwards. "We were quite dominant at the break down. Our work at the break down has improved out of sight, especially with our mentality there. Although it was close, the game was played in their half so I was not worried about them scoring."
Mount Maunganui is fielding a young, inexperienced side in 2013 so Woodford can see plenty of potential to come in the next few seasons. "It is a young side and we are building so it was good to win this game."
Mount Maunganui College 17 (Navah Tui, Leini Hakaumotu tries; Daniel Puschard 2 cons, pen)
Western Heights 16 (Alistair Campbell 2 tries; Tu Te Grant 2 pens)