Both the Waicoa Bay 15s and 17s teams will play in third-place playoffs tomorrow, after losing their semi-finals today.
Tomorrow is the fifth and final day of the national youth tournaments, being held at Puketawhero Park in Rotorua.
Having finished top of their pool with two wins and one loss, the Waicoa Bay 17s were overwhelmed in a 64-10 loss to a powerful Counties Manukau side in their semi-final. Counties will play defending champions Akarana, who beat Southern 38-18, in the final.
Waicoa Bay 17s coach Eugene Davis said with every challenge came an opportunity to learn, which is what he expected his side to do after their defeat.
"We built up quite well over the last few weeks, leading into the tournament, and we know what our strengths are on the ball. We're not a big side, we're smaller than most, but we have a lot of skilful players and a bit of speed.
"With a young team like this you have to work to your strengths, so having a really good structure to work from has helped us. Today our plan didn't accommodate what we had to deal with, we had a good structure and game plan but it comes down to how you deal with changes.
"This is actually the first time we've come first in our pool, so that was good for the boys and gave them a bit more belief. They'll have a lot of belief going into tomorrow's game, I'm hoping they take a lot from this game," Davis said.
The Waicoa Bay 15s finished second in their pool and pushed Auckland all the way in their semi-final, but ultimately could not get across the line, losing 16-8. Auckland went ahead early, with the wind at their backs, and took a 10-4 lead into halftime.
Waicoa Bay looked to be in the hunt as they scored early in the second half and an Auckland player was sin binned. However, Auckland managed to dominate territory and score a converted try to seal the victory. They will play Akarana, who beat defending champions Counties Manukau 10-6, in the final.
In the third and fourth place playoffs tomorrow, the Waicoa Bay 15s will play Counties Manukau at 11.30am and the Waicoa Bay 17s will play Southern at 11am.
The 15s final will be played at 12.30pm and the 17s final will be played at 2pm to round out what has been an entertaining week of rugby league in Rotorua.
National Youth Rugby League Tournament semi-final results
Counties Manukau 6 v Akarana 10
Waicoa Bay 8 v Auckland 16
Akarana 38 v Southern 18
Counties Manukau 64 v Waicoa Bay 10