Hastings East assistant coach Andrew Hui admitted he and fellow members of his management team were surprised by their side winning the Ross Shield rugby tournament which ended in Napier on Saturday.
"We had a new-look management team [head coach Josh Te Paea was involved as an assistant coach last year] and while we knew we would be competitive the main goal was to set a platform for the next five years," Hui said.
"Now we've won the shield the goal will be to retain it next year."
East's emphatic unbeaten run was reflected with the naming of eight players in the Hawke's Bay Ross Shield team after the 111th annual Wattie's tournament, the showpiece of Hawke's Bay Primary Schools rugby. They were; openside flanker Quentin Doran, halfback Ngatai McClutchie, first five-eighth Shamara Brooks, winger Reno Jardine, second five-eighth Denon Robinson, fullback Devon Flanders, prop Sam Taylor and outside back Humphrey Shields.
Hui and fellow assistant coach Ford Panirau coached the winning Hastings East Wakely Shield team last year and four of their players, Brooks, Doran, Taylor and hooker Harry Averill, played Ross Shield this year.
Three of this season's East team, McClutchie, Ethan Dorward and Sam Walton-Sexton, will be eligible for Ross Shield selection again next year.
Hastings East's MVP for the week, Doran, also won the Jarrod Cunningham Youth Trust Scholar ship. East, who last won the tournament in 2009, scored 197 points in their five games while conceding 37.
East had to beat winless Affco Wairoa on Saturday to win the shield outright and recorded a 50-10 victory.
Other games on Saturday saw the best country team, Dannevirke beat Silver Fern Farms Central 68-21 and IMS Payroll Hastings West secured second place with a 20-12 win against Napier.
Napier captain Robbie Brigham took home the Taupo Trophy for the player of the tournament.
He scored 96 points in five games which is a tournament record.
More on Ross Shield - Results Page 13.