Want to know who the next Beauden Barrett or Kieran Read will be? In his new weekly column for the Herald, schoolboy rugby expert Herschel Fruean singles out the best First XV matches of the weekend, and some rising stars to watch. Fruean will travel New Zealand looking for the best talent the country has to offer, preview the big games every Friday, provide a wrap of all the results on Sunday, and rank the top 15 First XV teams (based on their performances throughout the season) every Monday morning.
1. St Kentigerns College - 1A - Blues
2. Hastings BHS - Super 8 - Hurricanes
3. Kings College - 1A - Blues
4. Rotorua BHS - Super 8 - Chiefs
5. Otago BHS - Otago Comp - Highlanders
6. Kelston BHS - 1A - Blues
7. Hamilton BHS - Super 8 - Chiefs
8. Nelson College - UC Championship - Crusaders
9. St Bedes College - UC Championship - Crusaders
10. Scots College - Wellington Comp - Hurricanes
11. Francis Douglas MC - Central North Island - Chiefs
12. Christchurch BHS - UC Championship - Crusaders
13. Sacred Heart College - 1A - Blues
14. New Plymouth BHS - Super 8 - Chiefs
15. Gisborne BHS - Super 8 - Hurricanes
The mighty St Kents
We have to start with St Kentigern College who have come off two wins this week at the Quad Tournament held at Lindisfarne College.
St Kents played Scots College in the final, winning 31-7, and with a lot of talent on the field we got to see some players that will be in the conversation of New Zealand Secondary Schools this year.
In this game, we saw returning NZSS player Tiaan Tauakipulu, at prop for St Kents, remind everyone why he is one of the best players in the country with his endless work around the rucks and carrying the ball with no fear.
St Kents controlled the game through the forwards with Tiaan's younger brother Keynan at No.8 scoring tries and being a problem for the defence to bring him down.
Blindside Te Rama Reuben was solid in tackles and was backed up by Allen Craig at lock, with captain and openside Cam Church stealing the ball at every chance he got.
Year 12 halfback Treyah Kingi-Taukamo was named MVP for St Kents and made his presence known in both games.
Scots College were without their NZSS player Ethan Webster-Nonu while fullback Roderick Solo was hard to miss with his ability to create gaps with such small opportunities and really open the game up. Solo is very fast with quick feet and great timing that he has a few ways to beat you.
No.8 Sione Halalilo was as always a wrecking ball when hitting the line with every run and he often bent the line to give Scots an opening.
Blindside Isaac Sailo and hooker Sesa Va'a were also big for Scots in a pack full of pace and playmakers. Both players would often lead a break with their hard work in the rucks and often cleaning out bodies to get that turnover.
In the end, St Kentigern College were just too good and made use of the ball every time they had a chance to score.
Don't sleep on St Andrews
St Andrews College beat Lindisfarne College in the first game 33-12.
Don't sleep on a team like St Andrews College because they are coming this year with so much "fire" and that starts with Isi Saumaki on the wing who was just unstoppable with the ball in hand, scoring two tries.
Saumaki was breaking tackles and beating guys with pure speed and is becoming a player I am looking at adding to my NZSS watch this year for Year 12's.
No, Saumaki wasn't the only one putting in that work, because Lino Tauti was solid at second five-eighth, Joel Perry at halfback was running everything for the team and I really liked Ben Innes at fullback.
In the forwards, Seb Calder in the front row was good around the rucks and made some big runs as well.
Then there was Torian Barnes, Jack Stokes and Jamie Carr all getting into their work securing the ball and really getting the lineout going.
Lindisfarne College were a pretty tidy side and had some real young talent with Year 10 Kinghouse Tupuola playing at openside. He didn't look out of place either against the older boys.
I really liked captain George Twigley at first-five and Charlie Dods in at second-five and the way they played off each other. Year 12 Dods was making breaks in the line and St Andrews had to start paying more attention when he touched the ball.
Jordy Douglas at No.8 was a busy guy making tackles all over the field and acted as another openside.
And the rest
St Bedes College beat Francis Douglas 29-12, which makes it 2-0 for St Bedes with their trip up north.
St Bedes are starting to look a lot stronger then first thought this year.
Auckland Grammar also beat Tauranga Boys 26-15. Auckland Grammar is a young team with talent which looks to be breaking out earlier than expected, because Tauranga are a very strong team.
John McGlashan College beat Christ College in Dunedin 15-12 in a game that had some high profile talent like Leroy Ferguson at No 8 for John McGlashan, and blindside Zach Gallagher for Christ College.
Kelston Boys High School didn't care that it was still preseason, and took it to Wesley College, winning 47-5.
Other games around the country saw Marlborough Boys beat Wellington College 43-17, Hastings Boys beat Feilding High 31-7, Manukura took down Wairarapa College 47-7 and Kings smashed South Otago 77-3.
The game that had some real consequences was Tangaroa College beating One Tree Hill College 22-10, to have a place in the 1A Comp this year, so congrats to Tangaroa, and let's get this year going.