The kids from Kaierau shone in the hot sun at the annual Bulls Junior Rugby Tournament at the Bulls Domain on Sunday.
Around 740 children took part in shortened games from the Under 7 to Under 11 grades, coming from clubs in the Manawatu, Rangitikei and Whanganui – who were represented by Pirates, Ruapehu and Kaierau.
In the youngest grade, the Kaierau Under 7's outlasted nine other teams to win their championship, beating four Manawatu clubs over five hours to do so.
The Kaierau Under 9 team played strongly to finish runnerup in their 10-team grade, while on a hot day with temperatures rising both on the field and the sidelines, the Ruapehu Under 11 side conducted themselves to the highest standard and received the Fair Play Trophy for the entire tournament.
Playing seven-a-side in 14 minute games of Rippa Rugby, the Kaierau Under 7's started the 9am pool play with a 5-3 win over High School Old Boys Black, which was followed by a 5-3 loss to Palmerston North Marist Green.
Kaierau recovered to beat Te Kawau 6-2, with six competition points from two wins and a positive points differential enough to pull them through to the afternooon semifinals against the unbeaten favourites in Feilding RFC.
Kaierau pulled off the upset after the sides were deadlocked 4-4 at fulltime, scoring the winning try in golden point extra time after the rule book had been consulted by all and sundry.
That set up a 2pm rematch with Marist, who had a shorter turnaround from their semifinal win, and Kaierau lifted one last time for a 5-4 victory to win the Under 7's Shield.
The side, coached by Kain Harding, went into the long tournament with two squad members unavailable while one of their key players could only play a few minutes of the first two games on an injured leg.