Hamilton Boys' showed why they are such a dominant force in Super 8 First XV rugby with a controlled 29-8 victory over Tauranga Boys' on Saturday.
The match for the famed Don Clarke Boot attracted the biggest crowd of the season and Sky TV's cameras to Nicholson Field.
The scene was set with two outstanding haka and an opening play that ran nearly two minutes, ominously for the home team with Hamilton in possession.
Lacking Hamilton's size and big-game experience it was always going to be an uphill battle for Tauranga Boys' but if the match was awarded on courage and commitment then surely they deserved it.
Captain Flynn Kelly led from the front with head-on tackles that made the crowd gasp in awe but there is only so much any team can do without the ball.
Tauranga first-five Cole Forbes opened the scoring against the run of play with a fine penalty but the rest of the first half was all Hamilton's as they switched play expertly and patiently waited for the gaps that eventually opened up.
Hamilton led 21-3 at the halftime break but despite numerous attacking raids on the Tauranga line were only able to score one more try.
The biggest roar of the afternoon was reserved for Dylan Williams who crossed late on for a well-deserved try for Tauranga from a move around the front of a lineout.
Tauranga coach Dan Goodwin was proud of his players but disappointed some key moments went against his team.
"It is frustrating because I thought the boys played really well and a couple of key things went against us at crucial times which let Hamilton in," he said.
"To their credit they played really well in the first half and our boys showed some real heart and some real will in the second half. Just a shame we let Hamilton in for an easy try early in that second half."
Goodwin took plenty of positives out of the game which will help when they travel to play the seemingly unstoppable Hastings Boys' team.
"Definitely the boys' defence was great, especially at the end of that second half when Hamilton were on our line for a good chunk of it. They really barred up and held them up a couple of times and didn't give in.
"When we played to our systems the boys held the ball really well which was really pleasing. The boys off the bench made really good impact which was pleasing as well."
Goodwin said it was a thrill for the players to perform in front of Sky TV's cameras.
"It is always positive. It is an opportunity that some of those kids will never get again in their life. Some of them won't play any more rugby after First XV and some obviously will but it makes for a real occasion.
"It is all part of that rugby experience I suppose."