Hastings Intermediate School marked its entry in the AIMS Games' first rugby league competition in Tauranga last week by winning the Plate final and having two pupils selected in the tournament team.
It was a particularly meritorious achievement for the team of league newcomers had previously won a four-team Napier-Hastings intermediate schools competition established by deputy principal, league referee and former Hawke's Bay Unicorns wing Shane Foster to prepare them for AIMS.
They started the 12-team tournament beating Kaitao Middle School 46-0 and Mountview Primary 30-0.
In their third of three games on the opening day, they were beaten 18-6 by eventual winners Whangarei Intermediate and the following morning went down just 14-16 to staunch Huntly rugby league school Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga.
Hastings completed pool-play with a 32-0 win over host-city school Otumoetai Intermediate, and then beat Kaitaia Intermediate 24-8 in the Plate semi, before again playing Mountview, winning 40-4 to claim fifth place.
Dennon Robinson (son of former Magpie Jason Robinson) and Ngaiwi Hepi were selected in the tournament team, Robinson finishing as one of the top tryscorers, while Hepi worked tirelessly on attack and defence.
Foster was thankful to have the expertise of manager and Kiwi league legend Kevin Tamati and trainer, Hawke's Bay Rugby League development officer Anaru Bartlett.