As a school boy my level of rugby talent ensured I received neither praise nor criticism.

I was a tad below average.

But even this modest self-evaluation took a massive hit the day I turned up in the late 80s to watch Hastings Boys' 1st XV square off against Te Aute College.

Hastings Boys' sported a flanker who looked born to play the game.


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Ranging, fearless, confrontational but casual, focused but strangely aloof; a rough diamond who ran around the field like a pig in the proverbial.

His forte seemed to be, almost without fail, the uncanny ability to claim his own team's kick off.

I asked a supporter who the mysterious Hastings Boys' No 7 was.

"Josh Kronfeld", was the reply.

Years later I caught a TV interview with the now former 56-game All Black. Despite an acclaimed professional career, including two world cup appearances, Kronfeld admitted school boy rugby remained his favourite chapter.

He said there was no other system of footy where you can move up the grades and improve with your best friends and get to play beside them every week.

I thought back to that sentiment on Sunday after hearing Hastings Boys' had triumphed over Hamilton Boys' as top schoolboy team in the country.

What an achievement for a team appreciably small in physique compared with many they came up against.

Makes you wonder who and how many of this squad we'll be seeing in a black jersey.

Congratulations to the players, but also to the coaching and management staff. You've made history and reminded us older generation that schoolboy rugby's glory days aren't all in the past.