The question had to be put to Napier Boys' High School 1st XV rugby team's co-coaches Brendon Ratcliffe and Dave Russell after their troops beat defending champions Hastings Boys' High School 20-10 in the Hurricanes final at Napier's McLean Park today.

Were they holding back so opponents at next week's National Top Four tournament in Palmerston North won't see all aspects of their repertoire? On numerous occasions their outside backs were unmarked on the edges but their forwards continued to go up the guts as this approach has worked all season.

"No we definitely weren't holding back," replied Ratcliffe.

"We don't have the players to run 50 metres to score," Russell said.


However Ratcliffe said they will have different game plans to utilise in Palmerston North if required when their campaign begins on Thursday against South Island champions Christchurch Boys' High School.

Ratcliffe agreed their lads bombed a lot of opportunities today as they dropped a lot of ball and conceded 11 turnovers, six more than Hastings.

"Lesser teams would have let that get to them. Our defence in the second half was outstanding. All of the boys showed what this team means to them ... now they've got a chance to go to Top Four and make a statement," Ratcliffe said.

He was referring to what he has said regularly this season ... teams don't need imports to compete at elite 1st XV level in New Zealand. All of his players apart from substitute forward Rob Slabbekorn who transferred from Lindisfarne College in year 10 and substitute back Pereiha Hubbard, who transferred from Wairoa College in year 12 and never took the field today have been at NBHS since year 9.

"I could not be prouder of the boys. It was pleasing to see most of their teachers in the crowd too. These boys mean a lot to them because they have grown as young men off the field just as they have grown on it."

Second five-eighth Keegan Christian-Goss, who scored two tries including the matchwinner on fulltime and kicked a conversion and penalty, was thrilled with the outcome.

"That was awesome. We did what we wanted but I couldn't have got those tries without the earlier work from my teammates. Credit to them."

He admitted his team knows little about Christchcurch Boys' High School but video analysis of them will begin on Monday. The Thompson twins, captain and hooker Tyrone and centre Leo, and blindside flanker Josh Gimblett were again prominent for Napier.


Props Jayden Walker and Patrick Teddy anchored a powerful Napier scrum. Hastings defensive work was superb for large periods.

Their defensive pressure had to lot to do with Napier's high error count. Hastings fed off limited possession and deserve praise for being expansive as often as possible.

Winger Joeli Rauca deserved his two tries. Flankers Donovan Mataira and former NBHS player Connor Wadley had massive workrates while susbtitute hooker Jacob Dorward was impressive off the pine.

Hastings captain and No 8 Liam Udy-Johns was happy with the improvement displayed by his troops following their 27-7 Super 8 loss to Napier in June.

"We built every week since then. We were right there until their final try and we didn't take all of our opportunities. But in saying that neither did they."

Udy-Johns played for Hastings at the National Top Four last year and in 2016.


"Napier should go alright down there providing they cope with the step up as it is a big step up from anything they have faced," he added.
Napier Boys' High School 20 (Keegan Christian-Goss 2, Leo Thompson tries; Christian-Goss pen, con), Hastings Boys' High School 10 (Joeli Rauca 2 tries). HT: Hastings 10-8.