Leamington hosted a match for the history books on Tuesday evening as they entertained their namesakes from New Zealand, who are currently touring the UK to take in the Rugby World Cup.
After the playing of the respective national anthems, the 20-plus touring party, who are house guests of several of the home side’s club members, proceeded to deliver an excellent rendition of the famed Haka.
Playing against a squad made up from Leamington’s three senior teams, the New Zealanders showed no signs of jet-lag as they put in a very solid display of hard running, hard tackling, free-flowing rugby.
Skippered by Karl Bolton, they were first on the scoresheet with an unconverted score from Adin Bolton and followed this up with more adventure, which secured a try, again courtesy of Adin Bolton.
His brother Sean added the conversion.
As the half drew to a close, the home side put together a series of attacks close to the visitors’ line and when a number of infringements ensued, the referee awarded a penalty try.
The second period was a much tighter affair with try-scoring chances at a premium.
The tourists almost scored up the nearside flank as winger Roly Bolton was held up just short of the line.
However, they did take the opportunity to increase their lead with a well-struck penalty.
Once again, it was a member of the Bolton family, this time, Sean, who struck gold.
To keep the game on a knife-edge, the hosts hit back with the best attack of the game.
Nathan Earland, now on at full-back, took possession deep in his own half and used his pace and skill to open up the visitors’ defence and race in to score under the posts.
His drop-kick conversion brought Spa to within a point of the visitors.
However, there was no further scoring, with the tourists hanging on to win 15-14.
Leamington return to Midlands Two West (South) action tomorrow when they travel to Spartans.