GRAFTON High School first XV found out what Northern Hemisphere rugby union is all about in a 19-14 loss to a visiting English school yesterday.
Visitors John Hampden Grammar School gave the Grafton boys a lesson in playing close, controlled rugby to snatch a thrilling win in the final minutes of the game.
The Grafton team's explosive power and speed out wide unsettled the visitors early but they stuck to their tactics, doing their best to hold on to the ball and deny the hosts possession.
The Grammar School's director of sport, Daniel Edwards, said he had drilled his team on the need to play a "British" game of rugby.
"We told them not let the ball get out wide," Edwards said. "They got the ball out wide and they scored.
"But I was pleased to see how the boys followed the plan and was really proud of how they ground out a win."
Edwards was impressed surprised by the speed of the Grafton players and their power in the tackle.
"I'd heard they were mainly a rugby league school, so it was what I expected," he said.
"Our guys are mostly 15-16 years old and they (Grafton) are 17-18, so they did really well."
The visitors are in the middle of a three-week world tour, during which they will play games in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia.
"It's the eighth tour we've done at the school and it's become a real tradition," Edwards said.
"We come to play sport but it's also important we experience the different cultures of the teams we play."