The country boys in the Heartland Hurricanes Under 20 squad adapted to the mud lark better than the Manawatu Under 19's with a 12-3 victory in the opening round of the Central Regional Shield tournament at Arena Manawatu on Saturday.
Playing the 70 minute match on one of the secondary fields outside the stadium, there were no points scored in the second half in tough conditions.
"There was probably about four inches of muck at the end of the game," said manager Chris Back.
"They defended well, Manawatu never gave up, kept coming at us.
"It was a shame the conditions dictated the game a little bit, but the boys defended their hearts out."
Horowhenua Kapiti prop Jordan Tupai- Ui scored a try, as did Wairarapa Bush winger Moo Moo Falaniko, also adding a conversion.
Manawatu, guided by former Whanganui-based coach Shane Ratima, landed a penalty in reply.
The Heartland Hurricanes had to defend with 14 at one stage of the second half after Horowhenua Kapiti reserve Moses Pearce was sinbinned.
Whanganui's Desmond Tyrell was named man of the match for a strong performance from second-five.
Jason Myers covered openside flanker, while Kohlt Covney played the first 45 minutes at hooker, having a hard time with the lineout throws in the slippery mud.
Shaquille Waara, in his second year with the team, came onto the wing for the last 15 minutes.
The Heartland Hurricanes big test for the tournament will be the Wellington Under 19's, who they play this weekend in Palmerston North.