If the Condor National Sevens finals are anything to go by, the rivalry between Rotorua Boys' and Hamilton Boys' high schools is one that will entertain for years to come.

The two sides met in the finals of both the under-15 and open (under-19) grades in Auckland at the weekend, with Hamilton coming out on top in both.

In the open tournament, Rotorua Boys' topped their group with three wins from three, including a 24-5 win over their Bay rivals, Tauranga Boys' College.

In the quarter-finals they beat Feilding High School 19-12 and in the semis they beat Scots College 19-14.


Up against a talented Hamilton side in the final, Rotorua Boys' were on the back foot early as their opposition scored three tries to race to a 15-0 lead. However, the Rotorua side pulled a try back through Stuart Leach to reduce the deficit to 15-7 at halftime.

Hamilton again got off to a fast start in the second half, extending their lead to 22-7. Rotorua hit back with a try to Manu Akauola but it wasn't enough to prevent a 22-14 loss.

Rotorua Boys' High School's Stuart Leach was among the try scorers in the Condor National Sevens final. Photo / Photosport
Rotorua Boys' High School's Stuart Leach was among the try scorers in the Condor National Sevens final. Photo / Photosport

Rotorua Boys' High co-director of rugby Ngarimu Simpkins, head coach for the open side, said with so much talent throughout the teams at the tournament, it was the culture and bond of his side which led to their success.

"We were really proud of their efforts, we thought we had a really strong team in terms of their culture. On the first day, when we had a glance around at some of the talent, there was a lot of X-factor.

"One of the key elements we wanted to build on was to just be a strong team and that came through in the end. We earned our place in the final."

He said it was a tough competition and Hamilton were a strong team.

"We thought we were in with a chance, but Hamilton were really good. We had some grit there to keep coming back and it was like that the whole tournament. All our games were tough."

Simpkins said Manu Paea, who was named in the tournament team, and Kalen Strickland were the standout players for his side.

The Rotorua Boys' under-15s cruised through pool play to finish unbeaten at the top of their group. They beat Westlake Boys' High School 29-12 in the quarter-finals and Hastings Boys' High School 19-5 in the semis.

The final against Hamilton was a real arm wrestle and the score was locked at 7-all at the end of normal time. Hamilton held their nerve in extra time to secure a 12-7 victory.

Rotorua Boys' High School co-director of rugby and under-15 coach, Deon Muir, said the future of rugby at the school was exciting.

"We knew going into it we had a pretty good team, after finishing third at the 15-a-side nationals. We've got some special players in there and that's probably the most exciting thing - we have a really good group of young players in our junior programme.

"There's a lot of X-factor in this side and they read the game really well, they have good game management for young kids. I've never been involved with a young team of players with this calibre before."

He said the final against Hamilton could easily have gone either way and he was proud of his side's efforts.

"They're a resilient team, there were times we were under the pump during the tournament but they stayed patient and got through it. The final was just two really good teams going at it - strong defences and well structured, they sort of cancelled each other out."

He said, while it was never nice to lose to Hamilton, it was good to see teams from Bay of Plenty and Waikato in both finals when there were so many traditionally strong schools in Auckland.

Rotorua Boys' High School Open results
Won 48-0 v Hauraki Plains College
Won 24-5 v Tauranga Boys' College
Won 19-12 v Nelson College
Won 19-12 v Feilding High School (quarter-final)
Won 19-14 v Scots College (semifinal)
Lost 22-14 v Hamilton Boys' High School (final)

Rotorua Boys' High School U15 results
Won 21-7 v Alfriston College
Won 34-5 v Onehunga High School
Won 31-10 v St Peter's College
Won 29-12 v Westlake Boys' High School (quarter-final)
Won 19-5 v Hastings Boys' High School (semifinal)
Lost 12-7 v Hamilton Boys' High School (final)