The Bay of Plenty Under 19 rugby team have swept all before them in astonishing fashion so far this season, but where it really matters is on Field 2 at Taupo's Owen Delany Park at 10.45am tomorrow.

That's when the Mike Rogers-coached team starts their first match in the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 tournament against Hawke's Bay.

This is Bay of Plenty's second year in the Premiership division of this tournament. After a heartbreaking loss by two points to Canterbury in the quarter-finals last year, and subsequently finishing fifth, there's real determination to make the top four this season.

"This year has gone really well so far, there's no doubt about that" according to Rogers.


That's reflected in the results. Bay of Plenty have whipped every other team in the Chiefs area to be comfortably the No 1 under 19 team from the franchise.

Counties-Manukau were dispatched 60-17, Taranaki by an astonishing 94-0 and Waikato 36-17.

But Rogers is more than a little wary going into the first Taupo encounter.

"It's fair to say there's quite a bit of expectation, from the union and from the team itself.

"This year we are expected to deliver."

But he says something hasn't quite gelled at training this week.

"Look, these boys are not stupid. They know there's high hopes for them. But things have just been a little off the boil these last few days."

When Rogers first ran this team in 2015, Bay of Plenty finished 13th. In 2016 they improved to 10th and then to the top five finish last year.


The progression is all in the right direction and he can still call on one of his mainstays from last year's squad.

Kaleb Trask, who played fullback for the Steamers in the Mitre 10 Cup against Canterbury last Saturday, has been released from senior duties to play in this tournament for the second time.

Trask, who turned 19 in January and was in the New Zealand Under 20s at this year's World Championship in France, is still eligible because the Jock Hobbs Memorial is for players aged under 19 on New Year's Day.

He's one of up to five Bay of Plenty players whom Rogers thinks are likely to be called up to the first New Zealand Under 20s camp after this tournament.

That's the start of the selection process for the New Zealand side to play at next year's World Under 20 Championship.

Others he thinks highly of are halfback Leroy Carter and openside flanker Kohan Herbert, but he says "we have a whole lot of backs going really well too".

About half of the squad are local. Secondary school players are not eligible at this level, so most players are in their first or second year out of school.

The Bay of Plenty Rugby academy has recruited some players from other parts of the country while some have been identified in local club rugby.

According to Rogers, players at this level are selected with an eye to be playing in the Mitre 10 Cup in two or three years.

"It's all part of the union's rugby strategy" he says.

Tomorrow we'll see if an important part of that strategy can be executed.

What: Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 tournament
Where: Owen Delany Park, Taupo
When: Bay of Plenty v Hawkes Bay 10.45 am, Sunday, September 9