It's been 42 years since a Bay of Plenty rugby team won a national premiership title.

Today the province's under 19 team have the opportunity to place a long waited for piece of silverware in the union's trophy cabinet at Blake Park when they play Canterbury in the final of the Jock Hobbs Memorial National tournament in Taupo.

The Kaipo Brown-captained young Steamers have blitzed their opposition in all five matches so far this season, and word of their prowess has not gone unnoticed by other observers at Owen Delany Park.

After the whopping 68-12 win over North Harbour in the semifinal on Wednesday, one bystander was heard making a random comment to the effect that "Canterbury will do well to get within 20 or 30 points".


But head coach Mike Rogers is remaining calm ahead of what could be his union's biggest success since Bay of Plenty won the first ever national provincial championship in 1976.

"To be honest, we've never talked about winning and losing. Our whole philosophy is about the boys going out to play and not being constricted by pressure or expectation or anxiety or these things.

"Ultimately I'm going to be proud of them whether we win or lose or draw because of their approach, and we've got some real growth out of the team."

Bay of Plenty have scored a remarkable 24 tries in their two matches so far in Taupo.

Many of those scores have come through the midfield and outside backs.

If the junior Steamers can again assert superiority in the forwards, the backline may once again run rampant.

There are two potent attacking weapons at second five-eighth and centre in former Aucklanders Jayjay Suemai and Lalomilo Lalomilo.

Rogers is delighted that they've been attracted to the Bay of Plenty environment.


"We've got an emphasis around recruiting certain players that have the right physical and skills makeup to play at the next level.

"They're probably a couple who've put their hand up over the course of the last six weeks and said they're not too far away off stepping up to wearing the Steamers jersey in the next couple of years."

Recruitment has been a key factor in this team's success. About half of the squad have come through junior rugby in the Bay while others have been targeted.

"We're really fortunate that our academy manager James Porter is out there looking for players that he thinks we can work with. In that case (Suemai and Lalomilo) we probably got it right, but everybody is out there trying to do the same thing."

Rogers will have memories of last year in Taupo when his team narrowly lost to Canterbury at the quarter-final stage, before they went on to finish fifth in the tournament.

Outwardly at least, he seems unstressed about the final.

"Canterbury play an up tempo game so we're going to end up with a fantastic game of rugby.

"If we put together a performance we can be proud of we're going to be difficult to beat. But if someone comes along and they're better than us on the day it doesn't change too much for us in terms of the way we think about rugby."

Jock Hobbs' widow Nicky, herself the sister of two All Blacks - Robbie and Bruce Deans - will present the trophy to the winning captain.

Kaipo Brown, a young man who appeals as being mature beyond his years, would be a fitting recipient.

Bay of Plenty Under 19s:
1. Mafi Fifita
2. Miracle Lolofie
3. Jonas Pomare
4. Semisi Paea
5. Iosefa Maloney
6. Kaipo Brown (c)
7. Kohan Herbert
8. Gordie Lloyd
9. Leroy Carter
10. Cole Forbes
11. Jayjay Suemai
12. Lalomilo Lalomilo
13. Dennon Robinson
14. Emoni Narawa
15. Kaleb Trask
Reserves: Dylan Williams, Tevita Sole, Peter Seeling, Etonia Waqa, Toni Toia, Keita Yamamoto, Bartje Wierenga, Taniela Filimone.

What: Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 Final
Where: Owen Delany Park, Taupo
When: Saturday 5pm
Live on Sky Sport