The Palmerston North Boys' High School 1st XV's astonishing 34-all draw away to Chiefs Cup champions Rotorua Boys' High School on Saturday was a fitting prelude to their upcoming Polson Banner game against Napier Boys' High School at Napier on Wednesday.
After snatching three competition points on Saturday, Boys' High are now second on the Super 8 ladder behind Hamilton BHS, chasing a place in the final at Hamilton.
But Boys' High are only one point ahead of Gisborne BHS, who host Tauranga next Saturday.
It took a try to halfback Lee Thomson off a scrum in the last play of the game to draw on Saturday, and the conversion from Taylor Transom.
Boys' High thus came home with three points from the win and must now beat Napier. The outstanding players were loose forwards Liam Giltrap, Hayden Spencer and James Kellow, and lock Brayden Iose.
In a frenetic first half, Boys' High started with a bang, up 17-3 after 20 minutes before Rotorua stormed back with three tries in five minutes to lead 22-17 at halftime.
Rotorua had a freakishly fast wing in sprinter Latu Vaeno, who ran in tries from everywhere, the first when Boys' High kicked to him. It was 27-all when Boys' High gifted a try through an intercept five minutes from time.
Boys' High had reverted to a tight pick-and-go game in the second half.
"To get a draw when a defeat was imminent was very satisfying," coach Blair van Stipriaan said. "We also had a couple of opportunities to win the game."
Of concern is illness within the team and a knee injury to giant first-five Matt Maoate.
Scorers: PNBHS 34 (Lee Thomson 2, Liam Giltrap, James Kellow, Jackson Ferris, tries; Thomson 2 con; Taylor Transom con, pen) Rotorua BHS 34. HT 17-22.
Other Super 8 scores: Hamilton BHS 26 Gisborne BHS 10, Napier BHS 12 New Plymouth BHS 12.
Feilding High School's 1st XV head to Masterton on Wednesday, chasing revenge for losing to Wairarapa College in the national co-ed competition a year ago.
On Saturday, Feilding High lost their third Central North Island competition match by 19-13 to leaders St Paul's Collegiate (Hamilton) at Feilding.
However, they are still on track for the semifinals with only winless St John's College (Hastings) to play at Feilding next Saturday.
On Saturday, Ollie Brosnahan, Liam Scott and Vilimoni Koroi got within centimetres of scoring and two of them might have been tries.
The first half had been even but intense with St Paul's, who had a taller, bigger pack, leading 6-3 at halftime. They were coached by former Marist and Manawatu lock Andrew Gibbs, a former teacher at Feilding High.
Feilding went on the attack, but St Paul's defence held until early in the second half when a fine rolling maul saw captain Max Fryatt score. In a rare St Paul's foray into Feilding's 22 in the second spell, they scored in similar fashion.
Feilding had the dominant scrum but were still heavily penalised.
"We had heaps of opportunities to win," coach Sam Moore said. "We weren't clinical enough."
St Paul's only losses have been to Boys' High in pre-season and to Tauranga Boys' College in the Chiefs Cup.
Scorers:St Paul's Collegiate 19 (Ben Brogden try; Tyrell Martin 3 pen, con) Feilding HS 13 (Max Fryatt try; Liam Scott 2 pen, con). HT 6-3.
Other Central NI scores: St Peter's Cambridge 34 Wanganui Collegiate 33, Francis Douglas MC 36 St John's College 3 (Wed).
- Manawatu Standard
How excited are you about the 2014 Commonwealth Games?Related story: After the hype, time to let the Games begin