Sir Gordon Tietjens is known around the world as coach of the All Blacks Sevens team since 1994.
But his earlier claim to fame came in the 15-a-side game as a rugged flanker, who played nearly a century of games for Bay of Plenty before he coached the Steamers from 1996 to 2002.
Tietjens was in charge when Bay of Plenty won promotion to NPC Division One, after a tense promotion final saw them beat Nelson Bays 16-12 at Tauranga Domain on October 21, 2000.
Captained by Clayton McMillan, the Bay fielded two dynamic midfielders in Justin Wilson and Rico Gear, a canny halfback in Ramake Poihepe and tough forwards like Paul Tupou and Steve Simpkins.
Bay of Plenty historian Brent Drabble remembers the game "as a nail biter, close all the way" with Bay of Plenty gaining promotion after nine years in Division Two.
"The previous year we played Nelson Bays down at Nelson in the exact same promotion game and we lost that final on fulltime," Tietjens said. "So going into that game at Tauranga was all about memories of that previous year. That was a huge motivating factor behind that and made the game extremely important for Bay rugby."
Gear scored the only try in the final to cap off his one season for Bay of Plenty on loan from Auckland, before he later became an All Black.
"The build-up before the game was special," Tietjens said. "There were people jumping out of planes, it was just a magnificent carnival type of atmosphere. We were fortunate it was a beautiful day as well and the town got in behind the team.
"The advantages of having a home final can't be understated.
"If anything the support that we got from the Tauranga and Bay of Plenty community was tremendous and basically got us home I think."
True Bliss, the pop sensations of the time, performed the national anthem before the match.
Tietjens has special memories of watching, playing and coaching rugby at the Domain.
"My first real memories was when I was at Rotorua Intermediate and I sat on the sideline and watched the 1971 Lions play Bay of Plenty. I will never forget the 50m forward drive by Bay of Plenty, led by Jim Helmbright.
"I played my very first game for Bay of Plenty there against Waikato. The Domain was tremendous to play on, always a good surface."
Bay of Plenty 16 (Rico Gear try; Rodney Gibbs con, pen; Dean Jennings 2 pens) Nelson Bays 12 (Warren Johnston 4 pens)
•Tomorrow: Bay of Plenty nearly defeat the British Lions of 1971.