A tidy effort around the breakdown helped Old Boys Marist to a 43-20 win in their season-opener against Waipu at the weekend.
However, Old Boys had a touch of uncertainty leading into Saturday's match via a few pre-season organisational jitters.
Stepping into the role of head coach about six weeks from the start of the Southern District Premiers competition, Pat Stevens put his hand up to steady the ship.
"We were worried about the set piece going into it," Stevens says. "There wasn't a lot of pre-season.
"[But] we went into the game playing our own game, not committing too many players to the ruck, looking for turnovers at the breakdowns then getting it wide to make use of our backs."
Despite the absence of a hearty pre-season regime, Old Boys proved they have what it takes to play composed rugby at premier level.
Their patience inside the Waipu 2m line, and through multiple phases, was crucial in edging out the big Waipu pack.
Old Boys scored several tries from pick-and-goes, off the back of ruck and maul situations, on the Waipu try-line to solidify their win over Waipu.
"We went well," Stevens says of his team's patience around the breakdown, which proved its weight in gold under pressure.
"Overall it was a pretty good effort.
"There's a lot of new guys who played their first game for the club as well as a couple of guys who have come up from the reserves."
Leading from the front in the 43-20 win was Old Boy's loose forward and captain Ethan Crutcher.
Stevens says Crutcher produced several "good turnovers, good carries and good tackles", in his side's win and played well off the openside flank.
In other games of the Southern District Premiers competition opening round, Mid Western had a narrow 7-6 loss versus Western Sharks and Wellsford had a hefty 56-12 win over Hora Hora.
Mid Northern also had a convincing round one win beating Hikurangi 56-13.
Meanwhile, the Otamatea Hawks won a hard-fought match against Kamo, coming away with a well-earned 22-18 win.