It was a tough finish to the Jock Hobbs National Under-19 tournament in Taupo for the NZ Heartland XV as they were beaten 52-20 by a very strong Counties Manukau U19 on Saturday.
In the playoff for 13th-14th overall, Counties Manukau had been unlucky not to be in contention for the final Sir Michael Jones Trophy, as they had barely lost their opening game to North Harbour 27-26, before destroying Southland 81-12.
The NZ Heartland XV, captained by Jason Myers and including his Wanganui and Heartland Hurricanes Under 20's team mate Kolt Coveny, started with a 33-3 loss to Tasman but rebounded by beating Northland 41-26.
In their final match, Counties had raced out to a 33-8 lead by halftime, although NZ Heartland XV were more competitive in the second half, keeping that score to 19-12.
The Sir Michael Jones Trophy was won by Taranaki U19, who beat Hawke's Bay 52-25 in the final.
In the top tier Graham Mourie Cup final, Canterbury won the title by beating Auckland 26-17.
* * * *
There was better news on the local front as the Air Chathams Wanganui Under 18 team defeated Hawke's Bay Saracens U18 by a comfortable score at Spriggens Park on Saturday.
In a squad stacked with talent from the successful Whanganui Collegiate 1st XV, Wangaui U18 scored 41 points, with Sione Osamu and Te Atawhai Mason both scoring doubles, while Mason added three conversions.
The other tryscorers were Semi Vodesese, Beau Hourigan, and Rongomai Wanoa-McLean.
The Ag Challenge Wanganui Under 16's picked up a big win on Saturday, smashing King Country U16 by 66-12 over in Taihape.
And the Wanganui Under 18 Girls team were unlucky down at Arena Manawatu on Saturday morning, losing 26-24 to the Manawatu U18 Girls.
* * * *
The latest expat Whanganui player to make his way into Super Rugby has been found as NZ Sevens international and Otago utility back Vilimoni Koroi has signed with the Highlanders on a three year contract through till 2023.
The 21-year-old played age grade representative rugby for Wanganui before transferring to Feilding High School, and moved to Otago to play Mitre 10 Cup in 2017.