Hastings Boys' High School have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Sanix World Rugby Youth Invitational Tournament in Japan with today's match in pool play remaining.
New Zealand's sole representatives at the 16-team event which caters for the best 1st XVs in the world, HBHS beat Tokai University Gyosei High School from Osaka 40-14 in their opening match in Fukuoka on Saturday. Manager Jason Bird said adjusting to the fast line speed of the Japanese players was the biggest challenge for his team as they established a 19-5 halftime lead.
First five-eighth Arana Murphy operated well, scored two tries and kicked five conversions. Captain and blindside flanker Liam Udy-Johns, who also scored two tries, was constructive and led by example.
Winger Michael Naitokani was always a threat out wide while second five-eighth Andrew Hayward was solid on defence and carried with purpose. Naitokani and Eldius Oli scored Hastings' other tries.
Bird said his troops struggled with the interpretations of an English referee during their 33-26 win against Nagasaki Hokuyodai High School on Sunday. They conceded two yellow cards and two penalty tries and led 19-14 at halftime.
Udy-Johns again scored two tries and was powerful on the edge. Naitokani also scored two tries while Oli scored the other and Murphy kicked four conversions.
Hooker Damarus Hokianga-Heather and openside flanker Daemon Brough had huge workrates. Fullback Gideon Kautai controlled play well from fullback.
Hastings Boys' High School, the top seeds in their pool, take on Jianguo High School from Chinese Taipei in their last pool game today and quarter-finals are scheduled for tomorrow. Bird said the majority of the 30-strong squad have had game time and all of the players are available for selection for today's match.