Despite their 26-14 loss in the Central North Island final in Hamilton on Saturday, the Whanganui Collegiate 1st XV can still look back with pride on their best season in decades.

Saturday's defeat was the college rugby swansong for around 16 of the 23 members in the match-day squad, after head coach Steve Simpson and assistant Mark Godrey first cultivated them as younger players from the previous two seasons.

Playing in their first CNI final against a home side whose school has now won five of the last six titles, Collegiate looked a little slow coming out of the gate,

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