The much anticipated local derby between Hastings Boys' and Napier Boys high schools will see the Moascar Cup - the Ranfurly Shield of secondary school rugby - up for grabs.

The 12.10pm Saturday match between the Moascar Cup holder Hastings and their arch-rivals Napier is also a Super 8 competition round.

The match at HBHS will follow an 11.30am kick off at St John's College, where the home team take on Lindisfarne.

Lindisfarne and St John's will be competing for bragging rights and points in the Central North Island first XV rugby competition.

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Twenty-two of the 2019 Magpies squad attended one of these four schools.

St John's College

St John's College have seen several changes in 2020 after 18 of their 2019 side finished school last year.

They are well-coached with the addition of Matt Wyatt, who will bring enthusiasm and knowledge from his extensive involvement with teams including Hawkes Bay's representative team programmes.

Wyatt is focusing on short term and future aspirations.

"We have had great movements at the college in terms of mindset changes and are building strongly with a young squad, the emphasis has been put on everyone to act as a leader".

Wyatt picks No 8 Soni Paletua and lock Ollie Gardiner to be prominent this season, as well as captain Brad Campbell and co-vice captains Caden Harvey and Dylan Homan.

Expect Year 11 player Homan, in his second season with the first XV, to be one to keep an eye on in the future.

Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne have challenged themselves with a tough preseason campaign which will put them in good stead.

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They have faced Palmerston North, Napier Boys' and Hastings Boys' already in close losses.

Lindisfarne coach Carl Jones sees this weekend's game against St John's as a crucial fixture.

"We lost our first CNI game to Whanganui Collegiate School on Tuesday so the St John's match on Saturday is vital for points.

"Whanganui, Feilding (who Lindisfarne play in Hastings on August 8) have a really good side and Rathkeale are all good teams and it will take a lot effort to beat any of them".

Co-captains in midfield, back Charlie Dods and halfback George Charteris, will be key figures as well as No 8 Tino Savea, flanker Lanson Randell, lock Ben White and fullback Fred Mowat.

Jones also noted the younger players in Kingshouse Tupuola, Tuawhio Porima, Corban Watson, Sean Lagikula and Monte Timu as players with potential.

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Hastings Boys' High School

Hastings Boys' High School need no introduction with their impressive record over recent years making them one of the powerhouse rugby schools in the country.

Covid–19 robbed them of their chance to represent New Zealand in the Sannix World Rugby Youth Tournament in Japan this year but manager Jason Bird reports they now are able to be the nominated team and will still be provided their opportunity in 2021 should travel be allowed.

Hastings though won't be able to defend their national title as the regular national competition won't be held.

Last year arch rivals Napier Boys' High School and Hastings Boys' High School clashed at NBHS. This year, HBHS host the key match.
Last year arch rivals Napier Boys' High School and Hastings Boys' High School clashed at NBHS. This year, HBHS host the key match.

The Super 8 competition is now the biggest focus for Hastings, who were runners-up last season but naturally aim to go one better this year.

After a close loss to prominent Auckland school St Kentigern's they have recorded wins in preseason against Fielding and St Patrick's College from Wellington.

The Super 8 competition kicked off last weekend where Hastings were not able to defeat a very good Palmerston North side.

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"All Super 8 games are tough with some very good sides but the Napier game is particularly important, it's a local derby and the tradition of playing against each other for many seasons adds to the history of the occasion," Bird says.

Hastings are again coached by former Magpies and NZ Sevens representative Tafai Ioasa and Hurricanes and Maori All Blacks' Karl Lowe.

Experienced senior players Jacob Dorward, Andrew Hayward and Tini Nuu are back.

Year 12 student Cooper Flanders, a flanker and younger brother of Hurricanes and Magpies No 8 Devan Flanders, is tipped to have a bright future in the game.

Napier Boys' High School

Napier started their Super 8 campaign with a 24–0 win over Gisborne.

The side prepared for the season with an internal trial and victories over Lindisfarne and St Paul's in Hamilton, and a close loss to Fielding High School.

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NBHS coach Brendon Ratcliffe echoed the comments of his Hastings counterparts.

Napier Boys' High School have held the Moascar Cup before, in 2018. They will be hoping to take it off HBHS on Saturday.
Napier Boys' High School have held the Moascar Cup before, in 2018. They will be hoping to take it off HBHS on Saturday.

"Every Super 8 game is a massive contest but nothing is bigger than the game against your closest neighbour, there is a lot of history between the two schools, a lot of pride in both our jerseys and a lot of respect, the match is always the biggest of contests and both teams are expecting that to be the same again on Saturday."

Napier has plenty of talent, the midfield pairing of Tipene Maxwell and the experienced Jayden Stock work well and their back three of Ethan Martin, Wesley Akeripa and Afa Moleli are dangerous attackers.

Flanker Max Ratcliffe and number eight Gilgal Malasia are strong. The up and comer for Napier Boys' has to be Year 11 lock Gus Brown who jumps well, gets through a power or work and carries the ball well.