Burgess Hill could not have had a much tougher introduction to London League rugby as they travelled to South East 3 favourites Horsham.
The hosts had beaten two teams from higher leagues in pre-season matches and then thumped one from the same level 72-0 only seven days earlier.
On Saturday the final victory margin was 43-8 but the All Blacks will have learned much from their debut at this level and can feel assured that most matches will not be anywhere near as testing.
The visitors turned out a solid set of forwards and some pacey young backs but there were times when Horsham’s handling was sublime and helped them produce some superb tries.
A collapsed scrum brought them their first but Hill’s outside centre Will Pearson kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to 3-7.
Horsham bossed the last 20 minutes of the half and three unanswered tries, one of which was converted, stretched the lead to 24-3.
All Blacks regrouped at half time, with scrum half Sam David getting the young back line moving, while stand-in centre and normal back row Christian Jones showed deft hands in midfield.
New signing Paul Tokasaya showed his pace on the wing and took on the home outside backs at every opportunity. He put Hill first on the scoresheet as he ran over the top of the full back after good work by Ben Herbe, Pearson, Daly and full back Rich Fleming.
It was in the last 20 minutes that Horsham again stepped on the gas to leave Hill well beaten but far from dejected. New captain Ben Dewey has plenty to work with.
Hill’s 2nd XV began their campaign by demolishing a Lewes 3rds team they had not beaten for four years.
The 64-3 victory at Poveys Close came after Lewes had the better of the opening exchanges.
Hill led 22-3 at half time thanks to tries by wing Connor Chatfield, Mike Jennings and new arrival Meli, who played for Fiji Schools. The boot of Chris bowles provided the other seven points.
Six more tries came after the break as George Amos grabbed a hat-trick. The others came from Max Wilson, Dave McComisky and Bowles.
Bowles was named MoM after that great individual try and missing only one conversion all match. His final tally was 24 points.
Haywards Heath suffered their second defeat in two this season when beaten 40-12 at home by newly promoted old rival Sutton & Epsom.
The hosts were under the cosh in the opening quarter and trailed 5-16 as young John Lineham began learning his senior craft at prop against former Sussex player Raynn Bruce. The Heath score came from veteran wing John Feldman, drafted in Ben Ventham withdrew in the morning.
All the visitors’ point came from Sam Hurley (try, conversion and 3 penalties).
Sutton scored four tries in the second half but Heath were competing well and scored a great solo try through centre Jack Lucas that Owain Jenkins converted. Jack Bull helped stiffen the scrums and Gareth Quay had a good half in attack and defence.
Two more Hulrey conversions took his tally to 20 points as the Sutton tries came from Sawn Renwick (2), Mike Cartledge and in the final minute, James Caddy.
This Saturday Heath visit Gravesend.