After more than a decade without First XV rugby, Rodney College and Otamatea High School claimed the winning spot in their return to the competition.
The combined side beat Kamo First XV 29-15 last month to win the Northland Secondary Schools First XV Competition.
Coach Peter Hugo says winning in the squad’s debut season is a huge result.
“We had a lot of support from both schools and it means a lot for both of them to take the title,” Peter says.
“We were in it to win it from the start and I always knew we had the talent to achieve that goal.”
The team went unbeaten from round two onwards, after losing its first match to Kamo 24-17.
“The team’s biggest strength was its ability to develop quickly and learn from every training.”
Peter noted ball carrying, fitness and defence as other strong facets of his side.
“We were by far the fittest team in the competition, which allowed us to play a high tempo game and never let the opposition get settled.
“We also held up a lot of ball and had the second lowest points conceded total, a testament to the team’s defensive efforts.”
The team had four players who made up a leadership group in the squad – captain Sage Walters-Hansen, Simon Parker, Tamati Able and Javarne Porter.
“Sage did really well to captain what is a young squad and the four boys were instrumental in the team selection process.”
The team was also meant to face off against Whangarei Boy’s High to confirm if it would be promoted, but Whangarei defaulted the fixture.
“As it stands, we have a young team that has only one year in the competition so I wouldn’t be bothered if we didn’t move up a league.
“In terms of my position, I would like to return next year as coach, but that will be a decision for the schools to make.”