As the First XV schools season proper kicks off, both Auckland 1B finalists from 2016 have qualified for promotion to the 1A competition, which kicks off this Saturday.

In the driving rain, Liston won a fine 37-3 victory over Onehunga to book their place in the 1A for the first time since the 1990s.

Tamaki had to work much harder to repel Otahuhu 5-0 in a scrappy, televised affair at Tamaki College.

The home side deserved their victory as they had the superior scrum and two industrious loose forwards in captain and No 7 Miracle Loia, said to a be a nephew of Michael Jones, who scored the sole try and claimed the man of the match honours, and No 8 Junior Wright, who carried powerfully over the gain line.


Otahuhu were often architects of their own demise by thrice turning down kickable shots at goal and then looking confused about who to bring into the scrum from the backs when their tighthead prop was sinbinned. Otahuhu had more field position, but often coughed up the ball in the slippery conditions.

Tamaki are back in the 1A for the first time since 2013. Their stellar season was in 2007, when, under the coaching of Richie Harris and with a side that included George Moala, they reached the semifinals.

On Saturday's evidence, they will be competitive in some games, but will find the going tough against the top sides. Tamaki are away to Aorere in round one this weekend and Liston host Dilworth, who were in good pre-season form.

There were two North Harbour round three games played, with Rosmini blanking Birkenhead 54-0 and Orewa beating Whangarei BHS 23-0, which would indicate that the Northland college will find making the semifinals again in their second season a difficult proposition.

There was a big upset in the Crusaders' region UC Championship, with Lincoln High School defeating St Bede's 15-10 for the first time in the competition's history. It was just five years since St Bede's had put a century on Lincoln.

Nelson hung onto the Moascar Cup, just, with a 22-21 result over Christ's. The match was not without controversy, however, with Nelson reduced to 14 men after flanker Brad Pool was sent off for verbal abuse of referee Gary Reilly just minutes into the second spell. Two tries to 2016 NZ Schools wing Leicester Faingaanuku were helpful, as were his three goals. One of Christ's three tries went to Isaiah Punivai, the winner of the 2016 try of the year in all New Zealand rugby.

Reigning national and Auckland champions Mt Albert Grammar School were not having things all their own way at the Sanix tournament in Japan, beating local school Saga 38-21 but then losing 17-13 to Toin Gakuen. They defeated Russian school Enisei 34-0, placing second in their pool, to set up a quarter-final today against Tokai University Gyosei High.

North Harbour
Rosmini 54 Birkenhead 0
Orewa 23 Whangarei BHS 0

(1A/1B promotion-relegation)
Liston 37 Onehunga 3
Tamaki 5 (Miracle Loia try) Otahuhu 0 HT: 5-0

UC Championship
Timaru BHS 23 Rangiora 6
Marlborough BC 55 Roncalli-Aoraki Combined 21
Nelson 22 Christ's 21
Christchurch BHS 52 Waimea 21
Shirley BHS 36 Mid Canterbury Combined 18
St Thomas 64 Burnside HS 5
Lincoln Combined 15 St Bede's 10

Waitaki BHS 36 Taieri 12
King's HS 106 St Kevin's 5
South Otago HS 36 Mt Aspiring 10
Otago BHS 74 Kavanagh 0
John McGlashan 40 Dunstan HS 22