If New Plymouth Boys' High School wanted a tough lead-in to their annual fixture against Francis Douglas Memorial College, then they well and truly got it according to captain Daniel Waite.
Boys' High have faced and lost to Auckland Grammar and St Patrick's Silverstream this month, arguably two of the better school sides in the country at the moment.
"It's been tough but we've played some pretty good rugby in parts," Waite said. "We probably been a bit small against the likes of Silverstream."
Things will be on a bit more of an even keel at Yarrow Stadium tomorrow, with Waite expecting it to be a close battle between two sides who will look to use the ball.
Although the 18-year-old has come off an Auroa farm to school in New Plymouth, he does not board at the famous old establishment but instead lives at a family owned house in the city.
Although he usually slips on the No 10 jersey, Waite will move out one position to allow his younger brother, Shaan, the chance at first five-eighth after injury ruled out regular midfielder Matt Guthrie.
Waite, like his opposite tomorrow, has told his players not to get overawed by the local derby and to just treat it like a Super 8 interschool match.
"There is always going to be some bragging rights around the match but pride has a lot to do it with it, too."
A 24-10 loss to Francis Douglas last year has also left Waite not wanting to leave school without a win in the fixture.
After a larger than normal loss of players from last season, he felt Boys' High will run out as underdogs, something quite rare when they have met.
He was also "pretty excited" about the opportunity to play the curtain raiser to a vital Super Rugby match was special, as well as the fact the game would be televised.
Although he was not someone who barks orders, he was enjoying the captaincy and trying to lead from the front and give some guidance to a few of the first year players.
"I'll be just trying to calm them down a bit, try to keep their nerves in check, especially in the first 10 minutes.
"What I really want from the boys is to never give up and for them to give everything they have got."
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