The New Zealand Barbarians Cup for top national First XV in the country has been formally welcomed to Rotorua Boys' High School.
However, it is a bittersweet occasion with none of the championship side earning a call up to the New Zealand Schools team, selected at the conclusion of the National Top Four competition at the weekend, which has raised suspicions.
Jesse Williams says, “9 years since we’ve been in top four and another 12 years since we’ve won it.”
Returning to school today to show off the spoils of victory. A somewhat bittersweet moment for coach, Ngarimu Simpkins.
He says, “The back of their minds, they’ve obviously been ranked pretty low, so it’s something that I as a head coach and as a school, we’ve got to go back and look at why.
Questions remaining why no Rotorua Boys High School players were named to the 53 man New Zealand Schools Development camp, released on Sunday.
Simpkins says, “For whatever reason, they haven’t made it this year. We’re going to be getting that information feedback from selectors and were certainly be working hard, so next year they can be wearing a black jersey.”
Rotorua Boys' High School are the only team in the world to win back to back world First XV titles. Next year, they will return as the New Zealand representatives to the competition. However, it seems a national legacy will not continue this year.
Headmaster, Chris Grinter says, “Surprised and disappointed. We'd like to think that a team can end the season in the manner we ended it, would have players of that calibre.”
Te Kāea has made numerous attempts to contact New Zealand Rugby to comment on the issue since the New Zealand Schools side was named on Sunday, yet still today, to no avail.
Grinter says, “I know we've certainly got players in our team, the equal of any other schoolboy players in the country.”
Simpkins says, “We went against the odds and we'll continue to do that over the years to come.”
Although this predominantly Māori school does not have the same amount of resources as some of the big schools, they still produce the goods.