Rotorua placed fourth last season with a 3-2-2 record. Those two draws could have been wins so it could have been an even better 2014 after winning the Chiefs Cup.
But now Rotorua looms as real contenders, even better than Super 8 dark horses. Only three have left from the 2014 squad, though the departed include the gun backs Latu Vaeno, now with Taranaki, and Ma’ake Taulahi, now with Bay of Plenty.
“We’ve got some real leaders in there, the likes of centre Isaac Te Aute and Trent Harris up front,” says director of rugby and new First XV coach, former Bay of Plenty, East Coast and NZ Maori frontrower Ngarimu Simpkins.
“It’s in the back of our mind to get up there and be a top team in New Zealand schoolboy rugby. There is a real excitement around the school, but we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground.”
Watch for fullback Ngarohi McGarveyBlack to chime into the line, as he did so effectively in his man of the match effort in the Chiefs Cup final. Hooker Isaiah Leach and flanker Jade Honeycombe will offer high energy in a robust pack.