A last minute try by home team Wesley College prevented Whanganui Collegiate 1st XV from pulling off another famous upset against a traditional powerhouse in their 31-28 loss on Friday.
In the opening game of the CNI competition, Collegiate were taking on the side who in their previous three seasons in this competition have made the semifinals twice and were champions in 2017.
A hot bed for talent, Wesley have produced 11 All Blacks and a host of test players from the Pacific island nations.
Collegiate had been buoyed by their last away win over New Plymouth Boys High in 'The Gully', but found themselves trailing 12-0 after ten minutes following some basic errors.
Head coach Steve Simpson said in his report that after some stern words from captain Henry Kilmister, Collegiate team responded with some controlled and effective rugby, leading to Hadleigh O'Leary scoring in the corner and then centre Sione Osamu slicing through the midfield to score under the posts.
Both tries were converted by Te Atawhai Mason for a 14-12 turnaround.
"Wesley then applied concerted pressure through their large pack and squeezed over for a converted try right on half time to take the lead again 19-14," said Simpson.
"The half time talk was to keep the ball, be patient and move the Wesley forwards around, which WCS did effectively scoring two more converted tries."
Halfback Adam Lennox crossed and then Osamu got his double off a set up by first-five Harry Godfrey, both converted by Mason.
Down 28-19 with 20 minutes left, Wesley replied quickly with a break away try down the wing in the corner, closing the gap to four points.
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"As the Wesley pack was tiring, they managed to roll out two even bigger forwards to rumble the ball up the field," said Simpson.
"With four minutes to go they got to within 5m of the WCS try line.
"After outstanding defence by the whole team, which included holding them up over the line twice and defending several scrums and tapped penalties, Wesley managed to squeeze over in the last minute of the game to score a converted try."
Simpson said every player gave his all.
"Leo Allan having another strong game on defence, Tom Pease competing with boys more than 50kg heavier and Sione Osamu having his best game of the season against a lot of his Tongan compatriots."
Collegiate's next game is away to St John's in Hamilton on Saturday, with a 12pm kickoff.