Pt England School might share the similar picturesque views across the Tamaki Estuary as decile 10 St Kentigern College but that is where the comparisons end.

The multi-cultural school has just 600 Year 1-8 students, mostly from Tamaki and Glen Innes, two of the poorer suburbs in Auckland with high-density state housing.

Raising funds to go to tournaments or any extracurricular activities is always a struggle. The school had not been to the Anchor AIMS Games for six years because it could not afford the travel and accommodation costs.

But it managed to get here this week, after being a late call-up to the rugby sevens competition with just five weeks training together.


Against all odds, the team caused one of the upsets of the AIMS Games week by defeating Tauranga Intermediate 26-14 in the boys' final held at Waipuna Park yesterday.

Defending champions Te Puke Intermediate were favourites to win the competition but lost to Pt England 28-24 in the semifinal before losing the playoff for third place 22-19 to Auckland's Glen Eden Intermediate.

That left Tauranga Intermediate holding all the local hopes. With a large crowd cheering them on, they were everyone's favourites to take out the final against Pt England School.

But from the kick-off it was obvious that the Aucklanders were on their game and perhaps the weight of expectation proved too much for the Tauranga boys.

The fluent passing and handling that got them to the final deserted them when they needed it most. Pt England scored three tries in the opening seven minutes of the final, with Tevita TJ Paniani grabbing two and setting up the other, for a match-winning 19-0 lead.

It got worse for Tauranga from the restart when another wayward pass was intercepted to put Pt England 26-0 clear. There was a moment of magic from outstanding Tauranga ball-runner Tupaea Mika to score a fine try, and another on full-time by Joshua Elmsly, but it was too little, too late.

Pt England coach Walter Pakalani says they lost to Tauranga in the first round by 24-19 but greater patience by his boys was the critical factor in the final.

"We have only had these guys for five weeks. We were one of the late entrants to the comp," he said.

"I am so proud. The last time we played this tournament was six years ago and we won the tournament that other time too. We don't have money but this group of boys we have here believe in themselves."

Tauranga Intermediate coach Blair Tristram says it may have been nerves but his players just could not get their hands on the ball in the first half.

"We are a little bit gutted but Pt England brought it to the final and deserved to win. As a team we have grown each day and I am really proud of them," he said.

The victory was greeted with huge celebrations at Pt England School with the final streamed live through the AIMS Games website.

In the girls' sevens competition, Auckland's Royal Oak Intermediate beat Mount Maunganui Intermediate 17-10 in the final with Tauranga Intermediate 12-10 winners over Otumoetai Intermediate in the playoff for third and fourth.