The 92nd annual Quadrangular First XV rugby tournament is being hosted again by Wanganui Collegiate School as they hunt their 21st title and their first since 1991, in a competition that dates back 129 years.
Rivals Wellington College, Christ's College and Nelson College arrive tomorrow to be billeted out before taking to the No1 school ground on Monday, followed by finals day on Wednesday.
The teams that did not play each other in 2017 must meet the following year, so Christ's will take on Wellington at 12.30pm, followed by Collegiate facing the 2017 winners Nelson at 2.15pm.
The two winning sides will meet on finals day while the defeated teams will playoff for third, with both games being shown live on Sky TV's Rugby Channel.
Wellington College have virtually dominated the competition, specifically since the early 2000's when they racked up 12 straight titles.
However that run was ended by Nelson College in 2015, and Nelson again delivered for their home supporters in early July last year, as they beat Wellington in the first match and then claimed the final against defending champions Christ's College 29-5.
Collegiate lost the playoff to Wellington 27-5.
Believed to be the oldest secondary school rugby tournament in the country, the quadrangular began life as a triangular tournament between Collegiate, Christ's and Wellington.
The earliest records of Wanganui Collegiate rugby was the registry entry published in 1883.
One of the very first matches recorded was WCS vs Wellington College in August 1885, which Wellington College won 24–0.
But it was a few years later, in 1889, that the original triangular tournament began.
It was later in the next century, 1925, that Nelson College joined to form the current quadrangular format.
Since that time, Wellington have won or shared 38 titles, followed by Nelson (24), Collegiate (21) and Christ's (16).
All four schools boast proud rugby histories.
In 1889, the WCS 1st XV started playing in the Whanganui men's competition and a few seasons later the plain white strip, which is synonymous with the school's top squad, was introduced.
Other traditional match-ups began in 1897, marking the start of WCS rugby's association with Te Aute College.
The first matches between these two colleges were played in Palmerston North, and formed part of the A&P Show.
These matches are possibly the longest-standing fixtures that the school has records of and are still very much part of the fixture list today.
In the early 1920's, WCS expanded its fixtures base to include King's College of Auckland, New Plymouth Boys' High School and later Palmerston North Boys' High School.
Some 50 years later, other now-traditional fixtures would added for inter-school exchanges against Rathkeale College (1977), St Paul's Collegiate (1985) and Lindisfarne (1989), all still on the current 1st XV season schedule.
The remaining fixtures were made up of strong local schools including Wanganui Technical College, today known as City College and Whanganui High School.
In the mid-1980s the 1st XV entered the Wanganui Rugby Union's Under 21 grade for a few years before reverting back to a completely inter-school competition.
As the school underwent changes, including moving from a boys' school to co-educational, with the obvious result of fewer boys, rugby remained an important part of school life.
The challenge of playing the bigger all-boy's schools increased, although the old fixture list remained with the quadrangular tournament still regarded as the highlight of the team's season.
A number of Collegiate schoolboys who played these games went on to become All Blacks, from as early as John Blair in the 1890s through to 1980's in Andrew Jefferd and Andrew Donald, and the most well known in 1987 World Cup-winning skipper David Kirk in the 1980s.
When Collegiate last hosted the Quadrangular in 2014, the future Blues first-five and Under 20 World Championship winner Stephen Perofeta was at No10 for the home team.
They lost a mud-covered opening game to Wellington College 31-10, with Wellington going on to beat Nelson 5-0 in horrible conditions for the final, while Collegiate lost narrowly 6-0 to Christ's in the minor playoff.
The current Collegiate 1st XV is
1. Hayden O'Leary (c); 2. Ben Strang; 3. Wareti Cooper; 4. Charles Greatbatch; 5. Henry Kilmister; 6. Phoenix Kairimu; 7. Sam Sherriff; 8. Semi Vodosese; 9. Max Crowley; 10. Ben Kelt; 11. Jolame Vunisa; 12. Pati Leo; 13. Te Wanihi Rowe (vc); 14. Logan Henry; 15. Hadleigh O'Leary.
Reserves: 16. Jack Gay; 17. Daniel Truss; 18. Oliver Toma; 19. Taumauru Hond; 20. Beau Hourigan; 21. Dillon Adrole; 22. Finlay Spooner; 23. Samuela Kalikali.
Head coach: Te Ahu Teki. Assistant: Aaron Chadwick. Manager: Guy Lennox.