Rotorua Boys' High School 18
Hamilton Boys' High School 13
The right attitude, particularly on defence, was the cornerstone of Rotorua Boys' High School's win over defending Super 8 champions Hamilton Boys' High School on Saturday, says co-director of rugby Ngarimu Simpkins.
Playing in Hamilton in front of a raucous home crowd, Rotorua were made to fight tooth and nail for their 18-13 win. Hamilton were the dominant side throughout much of the game but Rotorua dug deep in defence, repelling wave after wave of attack before scoring on the counter attack.
"We showed really strong character and put in a huge defensive effort. We didn't lie down and I'm really proud of the boys' grit, they didn't go away. Ultimately, that's what won us the game - our defensive systems and the attitude around our want to stop them going forward.
"The boys showed up with that attitude, Hamilton are a really good rugby school so we had to have that attitude otherwise we certainly would not have come away with the win. It was pleasing that they showed up with the right mind set."
The victory was a real confidence booster for Rotorua Boys' - Hamilton Boys' are one of the best sides in the country and have won 11 of the last 13 Super 8 titles.
"It felt really good. It's just nice to get the win this early on in the season and we can concentrate on other things. I certainly think we've got another level to go to in terms of our own performance, I don't think we played that well but we had a good attitude.
"We'll get our feet back on the ground this week at training but we can take some confidence out of that result.
"We have another tough away trip to Hastings this weekend. It's another good rugby school and just really important we get over the excitement of this win and get back into our work as early as we can this week."
Tauranga Boys' College 26
Napier Boys' High School 26
Tauranga Boys' College had victory ripped from their grasp when Napier Boys' High School scored with the last play of the game to level the score in Tauranga on Saturday.
Trailing 26-21, Napier fullback Ethyn Martin produced a superb solo effort, beating multiple defenders to score on fulltime but was unable to kick the conversion that would've won his side the game.
Tauranga coach Dan Goodwin said it was tough for his players to take.
"I feel for the boys a little bit, they played really well, played some great rugby and probably our concentration slipped a couple of times and let them back in the game. It could've been worse, they could've kicked it."
Tauranga started the season with a 29-13 loss to local rivals Rotorua Boys' High School before beating New Plymouth Boys' High School 14-5 last weekend. They sit sixth on the table.
"The boys are tracking all right, they're improving every week which is good but we're still yet to put a full 70-minute performance together. They're coming together as a team, they're quite a tight unit and it's cool to watch that grow within the team."
"There were some really good things and a few work-ons from the weekend. Discipline let us down around tackle height and just some basic tackling," Goodwin said.
This weekend they host Palmerston North Boys' High School.
"I'm sure it will be another battle. I want to see us keep improving, tidy up our set piece and our backs will do something with the ball. Set piece is the big one."
In the other matches, Palmerston North Boys' High School beat New Plymouth Boys' High School 17-14 and Hastings Boys' High School beat Gisborne Boys' High School 38-7.
Rotorua and Hastings sit on top of the table with three wins from three games.