Check out the prizegiving list for the Havelock North Rugby Club which Hawke's Bay Today published earlier this week.
Yes it's the same Devan Flanders who plays for the Hastings Boys' High School 1st XV who was named the most outstanding player in the colts sevens team and the club's most promising sevens player across all grades. These awards are further indications of just how much potential the Hurricanes under-18 No 8 who signed a 2 year deal with the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union earlier this month has.
Although the 18-year-old, year 13 student has been a commanding figure for HBHS during their 17-game unbeaten run to date this season and regularly proved he is a class above all of his opponents, he has approached his individual match-up in today's Hurricanes Region semifinal against Wellington College in Hastings with some apprehension.
"I'm up against Naitoa and he is a very good player," Flanders said referring to Naitoa Ah Kuoi.
"I've been playing against him since year 11. He was a lock for the New Zealand Barbarians last year and he played lock for the Hurricanes under-18s with us this season."
"He's only just switched to No 8 this season so hopefully the fact I've had more experience in the position works in my favour. Like me he is hoping to crack the New Zealand Secondary Schools team later this season but if things go our way this weekend he might go back to lock," Flanders said.
A third-year 1st XV player, Flanders pointed out the Hastings lads have benefited from having a rest last weekend following their 12-all draw in the Super 8 final against Hamilton Boys' High School on August 12.
"Our coaches noticed we were a bit tired physically and mentally so we didn't train last week. We did some good team bonding stuff like some hard-out cross fit sessions and then some fun activities which freshened us up."
This week Hastings resumed their regular routine with training sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and Captain's Run yesterday.
"You probably noticed we were a little bit quiet by our own standards today but we will be back to full noise at Captain's Run in the morning," Flanders said after training on Thursday.
Earlier this year 2016 Hurricanes champions Hastings beat Wellington College 52-10. However Flanders said today's opponents have improved since then and they can't be taken lightly. The winners of today's match will take on the winners of today's other semifinal between Palmerston North Boys' High School and St Pat's Silverstream in next weekend's final.
Hastings regular starting tighthead prop Josiah Metcalf is unavailable for the match and captain Kianu Kereru-Symes will start in the No 3 jersey instead of his more familiar loosehead role. Big improver Zac Southwick will start in the No 1 jersey.
The regular starting halfback-first five-eighth pair of Hurricanes under-18 teammates Folau Fakatava and Lincoln McClutchie have both been named on the bench after collecting niggles during the week but fans won't be surprised if they are starting.
Teams for the 12noon clash:
Hastings Boys' High School: Gideon Kautai, Trent Hape, Dennon Robinson, Danny Toala, Kini Naholo, Jordan Thompson-Dunn, Shamara Brooks, Devan Flanders, Jeriah Mua, Liam Udy-Johns, Donovan Mataira, Tane Hohipa, Kianu Kereru-Symes (captain), Miracle Lolofie, Zac Southwick. Substitutes forwards: Damarus Hokianga, Corban Kireka, Emil Chrichton, Jacob Stephenson. Backs: Folau Fakatava, Lincoln McClutchie, Andrew Hayward
Wellington College: Kei Toma, Reuben Puckey, Connor Fitzsimons, Oliver Paotonu, Daigo Doi, Ishmael Perkins, Thomas Bramley, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Fergus Murray, Mellenniumma-Gerrard Leota, Benjamin Strowger-Turnock, Taine Plumtree, Filemoni Sului, Wareti Cooper, Denzel Leota. Substitutes forwards: Geordie Bean, Bronson Aiono, Nathan Middleton, Ricky Kiddle, Jaydin Tiatia. Backs: Marino Doyle, Elijah Tuigamala.