They left it late, but Rotorua Boys' High School First XV clinched the Chiefs Cup with a 29-27 victory over Hamilton Boys' High School on Saturday.
With the final play of the game, Stuart Leach scored a try that tied the scores at 27-all. First-five Quin Collard slotted the conversion to end the game.
Coach Ruki Tipuna said his side was 12 points down with just seven minutes to play, and were up against a daunting Hamilton Boys' High School team.
"They were big and they were strong and they used it well. They had a conservative game plan, but they carried strongly and we sat back on our heels and almost let them come to us," said Tipuna.
"But I think we looked sharper with the ball in terms of the ability to create opportunities, but it's pretty tough if you are sitting on your heels all the time with big boys running at you."
The game was played as a curtain raiser to the Chiefs v Waratahs Super Rugby clash at Waikato Stadium, but Tipuna said he didn't think the occasion that got to his players.
"Sometimes you play a big team and they get a bit of a roll on. The only way to stop it really is to bite down on your mouth guard and [tackle] someone - and for schoolboys that can be hard, especially if a team is much bigger and stronger than you are. But I'm pretty happy with the way they ground it out in the end."
It was just the first meeting between the two sides this season.
"Hamilton are right up there nationally, I'd imagine they'd be in the top three or five schools and in the country.
"We're coming in here with quite a young squad and they've definitely done well up until this point. We play Hamilton three times this year. That's one. We've had a good look at them and I guess they've had a good look at us but I feel like we've still got heaps of improvements to make.
Back at school tomorrow it will be straight back into the grind as the cup winners prepare for the first Super 8 game of the season against Tauranga Boys' College on Thursday, part of a sports exchange at Rotorua Boys' High.
Rotorua Boys' High School won the Chiefs Cup, the annual competition for secondary schools in the Chiefs region, in 2014 and 2015.
Baywide Secondary School Rugby results:
Division 1: Te Wharekura O Mauao 20 vs Bethlehem College 13, Rotorua Boys' High School II 29 vs Trident High School 15, Tauranga Boys' College II vs Rotorua Boys' High School III - no result received, Opotiki College 19 vs Aquinas College 27
Division 2: John Paul College 23 vs Te Puke High School 14, Whakatane High School 12 vs Otumoetai College 32, Tauhara College 10 vs Tauranga Boys' College III 24, Papamoa College 37 vs Mount Maunganui College 17.
Division 3: Rotorua Boys' High School U15 A 34 vs Rotorua Boys' High School IV 6, Rotorua Lakes High School 14 vs Reporoa/JPC 19, Tarawera High School 20 vs Rotorua Boys' High School V 22.