At halftime in today's National Top Four secondary schools rugby final in Palmerston North, Napier Boys' High School coach Brendon Ratcliffe told his troops the next 10 minutes would be the most important of their season.

How right former Magpies mentor Ratcliffe was.

At that stage his lads, the Hurricanes champions and Moascar Cup holders, were 21-5 up against the Blues champions St Peter's College.

Within the next 10 minutes St Peter's established a 24-21 lead before going on to win the cup and Top Four title with a 31-28 victory.


"We fell off some crucial tackles during that period ... stuff we don't normally do. St Peter's had a lot of fuel and they fed off that. But at the same time it was good to see us come back and be in contention," Ratcliffe said.

"Yes the boys did not keep the pressure on in the second half. We let them come back and got punished," dejected NBHS captain and hooker Tyrone Thompson said.

"At the same time I'm proud of our efforts which saw us get this far," Thompson added.

Ratcliffe said he also was proud of his "bunch of young men who found them in a place no-one gave them a chance of being in".

Napier deserved their lead at the interval. Winger Jayden Stok scored in the eighth minute after joining a maul which followed a lineout drive. More relentless pressure from the Napier forwards resulted in prop Patrick Teddy scoring in the 15th minute.

First five-eighth Henry Williams scored from a charge down in the 21st minute. All three tries were converted by second five-eighth Keegan Christian-Goss, who also impressed in general play.

St Peter's only try in the first half came in the final minute when centre Apetone Vaka scored off one of many spectacular breaks from captain and No 8 Niko Jones, a son of All Blacks legend Sir Michael Jones.

Two minutes into the second half St Peter's loosehead prop and player of the match Zyon Holo used all of his 142kg in an appropriate manner to crash over.


Fifteen-year-old first five-eighth Ajay Faleafaga slotted the conversion.

Jones sparked an 8-9 move off the back of a scrum which led to winger PJ Tonga's try in the 41st minute of the 70-minute final. Jones scored a try in the 45th minute after capitalising on a sloppy lineout and poor defensive work from NBHS. Faleafaga again added the extras.

The most entertaining try in the brutal final, a 95 metre team effort in the 51st minute which saw Jones and Vaka involved before openside flanker Chris Halau'fa finished it off. Faleafaga added the conversion.

That try followed a turnover conceded by Teddy when he lacked the necessary patience in a pick and go situation. Seven of Napier's 12 conceded turnovers were conceded in the second half.

Often during the second half Napier were guilty of trying too hard and this is when turnovers were conceded.

St Peter's were also polished in holding their Napier opponents up in the tackle and forcing the turnover.

To their credit Napier remained in the hunt and Thompson scored a pick and go move in the 58th minute. Christian-Goss converted to maintain his 100 per cent success rate.

There were no passengers in the Napier side's performance. Captain Thompson and his brother and centre Leo Thompson again had high workrates.

Lock Tiaki Fabish and No 8 Luke Russell were busy on defence. Blindside flanker Josh Gimblett and lock Frank Lochore, a grandson of All Blacks legend Sir Brian Lochore, were accurate with their lineout work apart from when Jones scored his try.

Jones congratulated Napier on what he described as "an amazing effort."

Jones said at halftime his players were told to have trust in the talent they had and that they did.

St Peter's College 31 (Apetone Vaka, Zyon Holo, PJ Tonga, Niko Jones, Chris Halau'fa tries; Ajay Faleafaga 3 cons), Napier Boys' High School 28 (Jayden Stok, Patrick Teddy, Henry Williams, Tyrone Thompson tries; Keegan Christian-Goss cons). HT: NBHS 21-5.