For the Rotorua Boys' High School and Tauranga Boys' College first XV sides, it probably felt like preseason would never end, such was the anticipation and excitement for starting another Super 8 Championship. Finally tomorrow, the two close rivals will get their Super 8 campaigns under way and what better way to do it than with their 101st meeting against each other broadcast to thousands on Sky Sport. Rotorua Boys' have had the wood on their Tauranga counterparts in recent years but it is a match-up both sides look forward to. Sports reporter David Beck caught up with the coaches.
While tomorrow's Super 8 match between Rotorua Boys' High School and Tauranga Boys' College is the 101st time the teams have met, the two schools will be taking the opportunity to commemorate a century of fixtures.
The 100th game, played last year, resulted in a dominant 32-3 win to Rotorua Boys'. However, the overall record between the two is fairly even. Since 1927, Tauranga have won 40, Rotorua have won 53 and there have been seven draws.
Rotorua Boys' High School co-director of rugby Ngarimu Simpkins said his players were chomping at the bit to get the Super 8 season under way in Rotorua.
"To be honest, we're bursting at the seams to get out there, we haven't had a game in a little while now. This match against Tauranga is adding to the intensity of our week. We've got a group chat [on Facebook] and everybody seems to be really excited. There's a good buzz about the team at the moment."
He said he had talked to the players about the history of this fixture and the 100 games that had come before this one.
"We're coming along really nicely, there's more excitement than anything, we just want to get out there on the field. It's always nice to play a TV match and to be able to play it at home is a bonus."
Simpkins said, as a coach, it was a fixture he looked forward to every year, especially with the Tauranga Boys' College head coach Dan Goodwin being someone he knows well from his own playing days. Simpkins played for Whakarewarewa and Goodwin played for Te Puke in the Baywide competition.
"Dan is a guy that I played with, in club rugby we played against each other a number of times. He was involved in around the Bay team as well. He's a good man giving back to that school and we stay in contact quite a bit, there's a bit of friendly banter."
In 2013, Tauranga Boys' won both matches they played against Rotorua Boys' However, in the 12 matches played since then they have managed one draw - Rotorua have won the other 11.
Tauranga Boys' coach Goodwin said it was always a good challenge going up against their Bay of Plenty rivals and one they welcomed.
"There's a lot of excitement around the start of the Super 8, the boys have been working pretty hard since October. They're really excited actually.
"I just want them to play their game, we've talked about performing and getting their roles and individual jobs right to get a good performance from the team.
"We know Rotorua are a very good side, they're coached well and they've been together a long time. Other schools are talking them up as top-four contenders but we're just looking forward to the challenge."
Tomorrow's game kicks off at 12.40pm at Rotorua Boys' High School and will be televised live on Sky Sport.
Tauranga Boys' College and Rotorua Boys' High School 1927–2018
Rotorua Boys' wins: 53
Tauranga Boys' wins: 40
Super 8 First XV Draw
Rotorua Boys' High School:
June 6 v Tauranga Boys' College (home)
June 15 v Gisborne Boys' High School (away)
June 22 v Hamilton Boys' High School (away)
June 29 v Hastings Boys' High School (away)
July 6 v Napier Boys' High School (home)
July 27 v Palmerston North Boys' High School (away)
August 3 v New Plymouth Boys' High School (home)
August 10: Super 8 Final
Tauranga Boys' College:
June 6 v Rotorua Boys' High School (away)
June 15 v New Plymouth Boys' High School (away)
June 22 v Napier Boys' High School (home)
June 29 v Palmerston North Boys' High School (home)
July 4 v Hamilton Boys' High School (home)
July 27 v Hastings Boys' High School (away)
August 3 v Gisborne Boys' High School (home)
August 10: Super 8 Final