Rotorua Boys' High School first XV have bragging rights for another season after beating Tauranga Boys' College 27-7 to become Baywide champions.

Saturday's win earned Rotorua the right to play New Plymouth Boys' High School in a fortnight - the next step towards representing the Chiefs franchise region in the National Top 4 competition.

There was a strong breeze for the full 70 minutes, played at Rotorua Boys' High School, and the team that handled it best were always going to go a long way towards winning the game.

Rotorua did just that, pinning Tauranga down their own end during the first half when they had the wind. In the second half they used their strong ball runners to get out of trouble before putting chip kicks into the corners to keep themselves down the right end of the field.


The star of the show was Rotorua captain Hayze Perham who led from the front with a hat trick of tries and made several barnstorming runs to get his side on the front foot.

His first came within the first 10 minutes, after a strong spell of possession for Rotorua. They worked their way into the 22 before shifting the ball left - Perham beat the first tackle and crashed over in another to score and give his side a 5-0 lead.

Rotorua went further ahead in the 15th minute thanks to try-scoring machine Selestino Ravutaumada who added another try to an impressive season tally.

STRENGTH: Tauranga Boys' College's Connor McLeod looks to shrug off a tackler against Rotorua Boys' High School during the Baywide secondary school rugby final in Rotorua. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
STRENGTH: Tauranga Boys' College's Connor McLeod looks to shrug off a tackler against Rotorua Boys' High School during the Baywide secondary school rugby final in Rotorua. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Tauranga fought hard in defence but found themselves facing wave after wave of attack as they struggled to make any ground into the wind.

With five minutes left in the half Rotorua flanker Nikki Jacobs was sinbinned after his side were warned for making too many infringements.

However, down to 14 men, Rotorua rallied together, worked their way downfield and Perham scored his second with a brilliant piece of footwork.

Rotorua led 17-0 at halftime, but faced the daunting task of defending their lead into the wind in the second half.

With the wind at their backs Tauranga had a new lease on life at the start of the second half and piled pressure on the Rotorua defence.

They finally got on the scoreboard when halfback Mikaere Leaf broke off the back of a scrum inside the 22 to score. The try was converted and the lead was cut back to 17-7.

The next 10 minutes was a real arm wrestle as Rotorua did all they could to play the game in Tauranga's half.

Rotorua worked their way into the Tauranga 22 and, after being held up once and being awarded several penalties, were given a penalty try to lead 22-7.

Perham put the icing on the cake near fulltime when he showed off his speed to race after a grubber and score his third try and secure a 27-7 win for Rotorua.

Rotorua Boys' High School coach Ruki Tipuna, who spoke before the game about his side's need to improve their defence, was pleased with what he saw.

"We made huge improvements to our defence, which is what we were after, now we just have to make sure we fix our discipline. We fix one thing and need to work on something else but it's an improvement.

"[The wind] was the same for both teams, I think we managed it well. Our first-five Quinn [Collard] had a particularly good game with the boot, keeping us in their half.

"Tauranga have some really sharp players and some decent ball carriers, but I'm happy with what we did defensively," Tipuna said.

Tauranga Boys' College coach Dan Goodwin said it was a fairly contested game.

"Both sides worked really hard, especially into such a tough wind. It was a big factor and they dealt with it better.

"It's disappointing for our boys, for the season to be over. It's been a challenging season, with a few guys getting injured, but that gives an opportunity for young guys coming through to get some good experience.

"We wish Rotorua all the best going forward and representing the Bay - hopefully they can go all the way," Goodwin said.