Two of last year's First XV school stars made the biggest impression as Tauranga Sports came from behind to beat Te Puke Sports 28-20 at Murray Salt Stadium on Saturday.
First-five Kaleb Trask and No 8 Ajay Mua were simply outstanding in a fine team effort that got Tauranga home late against a gallant Te Puke side in Baywide Premier's game of the round.
The standard and professionalism of First XV rugby at the highest level means players like Trask and Mua can effortlessly go straight from school into Chiefs Development, Baywide Premier and Mitre 10 Cup levels.
Trask was a key player in Rotorua Boys' Top Four winning team and represented the New Zealand Barbarians last year. He has blue and gold blood in his veins with his grandfather Bruce a fine fullback for Bay of Plenty in the 1970s and a leading sports administrator.
Blues under-18 and NZ Secondary Schools No 8 Mua is a major asset to the union's loose forward stocks. He hails from Hastings and made his mark with Auckland's King's College.
Te Puke led 13-3 early on and scored two tries to one in an encouraging performance.
The difference was the accurate goalkicking of Trask who kicked seven penalties and a conversion from eight attempts.
Many of the kicks were from wide out across a swirling breeze with the best of them from 50m to take the lead under intense pressure.
The other aspect Bay selectors will have smiled about was the way Trask ran the match from first-five with tactical kicking and distribution of the highest level.
First-five is a major issue for Bay of Plenty to fill this season so to have a homegrown talent like Trask on the scene is timely indeed.
Trask was happy with his performance against Te Puke but rightly deflected the attention to the forwards who won the vital battle up front.
"Obviously I couldn't have done that without the forward pack and the rest of the team. They made those penalties happen and fortunately I got them," Trask said.
"The boys are stoked and happy to get the win, especially against a quality side like this. It doesn't happen often."
Trask is enjoying Premier club rugby and says it is similar to what he is used to.
"It is just a bit more physical with players who are more experienced. You can learn off your teammates.
"Playing for (the Steamers) is in the back of my mind so I will just wait and see what happens. I am just focusing on club rugby at the moment and see where that goes."
Mua's strong ball carries, speed and ability to step stood out in the second half drive to victory for Tauranga.
So why leave the Blues and Auckland for Bay of Plenty?
"Opportunity really. I got in touch with good people like (agent) Ben Boyle. He did all the hard work and all I did was follow what he did and here I am. I am with the Bay Academy and enjoying it," he said.
A reversal of the talent drain out of Bay of Plenty is a positive sign for everyone involved with rugby in the union.
Baywide rugby results
Rotoiti 34 v Greerton Marist 32
Whakarewarewa 28 v Mount Maunganui Sports 22
Tauranga Sports 28 v Te Puke Sports 20
Arataki 16 v Paroa 10
Te Puna 60 v Poroporo 21
Rangataua 60 v Whakatane Marist 24
Te Puke Sports 34 v Tauranga Sports 19
Whakarewarewa 40 v Mount Maunganui 12
Arataki 50 v Paroa 5
Greerton Marist 50 v Rotoiti 11
Te Puna won by default from Poroporo
Rangataua 77 v Whakatane Marist 21
Baywide Division 1
Papamoa 19 v Kahukura 16
Waimana 34 v Marist St Michael's 32
Opotiki 10 v Judea 3
Rangiuru 27 v Ruatoki 13
Waikite 91 v Katikati 7
Ngongotaha 27 v Te Teko 8
Baywide Premier Points:
Rangataua 13, Paroa 11, Tauranga Sports 10, Te Puna 10, Rotoiti 9, Whakarewarewa 9, Arataki 8, Greerton Marist 6, Te Puke Sports 6, Mount Maunganui Sports 5, Whakatane Marist 1, Poroporo 0
Baywide Development Points:
Te Puna 14, Arataki 10, Greerton Marist 10, Rangataua 10, Tauranga Sports 10, Te Puke Sports 10, Paroa 8, Mount Maunganui Sports 5, Rotoiti 5, Whakarewarewa 5, Whakatane Marist 1, Poroporo 1
Baywide Division 1 Points:
Ngongotaha 9, Opotiki 9, Papamoa 9, Waikite 6, Judea 6, Te Teko 5, Marist St Michaels 5, Waimana 5, Rangiuru 4, Ruatoki 1, Kahukura 1, Katikati 0