The Whanganui Collegiate 1st XV led the charge for the return of competitive rugby in town today, after a comfortable 39-12 win over Manawatu's Manukura 1st XV at the school grounds.
The Steve Simpson-coached squad, who are rebuilding after last year's team were runnersup in the Central North Island competition, took a 12-0 lead after the first period of the four quarter match, thanks to captain Harry Godfrey winning the race to a kick ahead ball, while halfback Adam Lennox snatched an intercept inside his own 22m and held off the chasers all the way to the tryline.
The coaching staff rotated their forward pack in the second quarter, as the side extended their advantage to 22-0 after No8 Josefa Namosimalua polished off some good team buildup to score, while Lennox had a double after strong runs from the midfielders Shaun O'Leary and Waqa Waqacec.
Manukura closed the gap to 22-12 in the third quarter while Collegiate continued to rotate players, taking advantage of some basic errors and dropping off tackles to score two tries.
But the home side reasserted themselves in the final period, as Lennox had a hat trick of tries, while O'Leary went in for a deserved five-pointer and winger William Johnston dotted down in the corner.
It's a big game this coming Saturday as Collegiate host New Plymouth Boys High — the Super 8 First XV power school they famously upset 32-26 on their own Gully Ground in preseason last year.
Kickoff is 12pm.
A number of the WRFU Premier and Senior club teams also had preseason hit-outs around the district this afternoon.