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NZ Schools hold off fast finishing Australian Schools


Members of the New Zealand Schools perform their pre-match haka in driving rain at the start of today’s Schools Test at Porirua Park

The New Zealand Schools beat Australia Schools and the New Zealand Barbarian Schools defeated Fiji Schools in today’s two internationals at Porirua Park.

New Zealand Schools 34 – Australia Schools 24

In temperamental conditions at Porirua Park the NZ Schools team withstood a fightback from the Australian Schools, holding on to win 34-24.

After a scrappy opening ten minutes, it was the NZ Schools that struck first, with St Kentigern College captain and halfback Sam Nock scampering in for the opening try. Jordan Trainor added the conversion and the home side led by 7.

With ten minutes to go in the first half, the Australian Schools had a great opportunity to get back into the match through a penalty kick at goal.

But little halfback Harrison Goddard missed the penalty and the NZ schools team pounced, scoring from a well worked set move. Captain Reiko Ioane got the ball and offloaded to Malo Tuitama. The dynamic left wing saw space out wide and fired a long pass out to Jonah Lowe, who sauntered in to score in the corner. With Trainor kicking a conversion and a penalty towards the end of the half, the NZ Schools took a comfortable 17 – 0 lead into the halftime break.

The second half started promising for Australia after Goddard made up for his earlier miss and finally kicked a penalty goal. A rare kick-off out on the full followed from New Zealand, but when Nock scored again shortly after, the error was well and truly made up for.

Hard running Australian Schools centre Izaia Perese became the first to score against NZ Schools in 2014 when he coasted through a hole, evading the tacklers. With the conversion kicked, the Australians were full of confidence.

After another Trainor penalty for Australian breakdown infringing which took the lead out to 27 – 10, the fightback was on when Australian openside flanker Connor Moroney scooted in for a crucial try which brought the margin to within ten after the added conversion. Moroney resembled Wallaby Michael Hooper when he charged into space in the lead up to that try.

Reserve hooker Gavin Luca crashed over and it was well and truly game on

Much to the delight of the home fans, the NZ Schools team secured the game off another wellworked set play. Second five Patelsio Tomkinson dived in under the posts and with the added conversion, the celebrations of winning the Trans Tasman Schools trophy could begin.

NZ Schools 34 (Sam Nock 2, Jonah Lowe, Patelsio Tomkinson trys Jordan Trainor 4 con 2 pen) beat  Australia Schools 24 Connor Moroney, Izaia Perese, Gavin Luca, Harrison Goddard 3 con 1 pen). HT: 17-0.

New Zealand Barbarians 22 – Fiji Schools 16

The New Zealand Barbarians held on to beat the Fiji Schools 22-16 in tumbling rain to maintain their unbeaten record, in the curtain-raiser to the Test match.

A flat Barbarians side resisted a torrid challenge by the Fijians who came to play, throwing themselves into the heavy contact areas right from the opening exchanges and upsetting the Barbarians’ structure.

Fiji would have won the match if not for a horror show off the kicking tee, their kickers leaving several penalties and conversions totally 15 points out on the field.

The Fijians also lost blindside flanker Kitione Kamikamica to the sin-bin early in the match for a dangerous tackle – presenting the New Zealanders with the opportunity to score the game’s opening try from the ensuing penalty and lineout.

Utilising quick ball off the top of the lineout, they ran in a lovely try out wide, scored by King’s College fullback Shelford Murray and converted by first five-eighth D’Angelo Leuila to give them a 7-0 lead.

Fiji worked their way back into the match against a New Zealand side, centre Manasa Mataele missing two penalties before making it third time lucky, kicking his first penalty to make it 7-3 after 20 minutes.

Barbarians tighthead prop Sione Asi was sinbinned but Mataele missed their fourth penalty opportunity from a handy position.

Fiji kept asking questions of the New Zealanders’ defence, leading to second five-eighth Sela Toga taking the goal-kicking reins and closing the gap to 7-6 at halftime.

Barbarians No. 8 Marino Mikeale-Tuu dropped a kick cold in the opening moments of the second half and Fiji attacked from the resulting attacking scrum on halfway. Left wing Edward Sawailau injected himself into the backline and flew 40 metres to score a brilliant try. The conversion went begging but Fiji nowled 11-7.

Barbarians left wing Losi Filipo placed a well-directed stab kick into the clubrooms corner, forcing Fijian fullback Marika Kubu to run the ball into touch. The Barbarians attacked in close and then went wide to replacement right wing Luther Hirini who was scragged into touch.

The pressure was maintained and Murray crossed for his second try, converted by Leuila, putting the Barbarians in front 14-11 with over 20 minutes still to play.

The Barbarians mustered another period of strong phase play, setting up a third try to left wing Jarrod Adams in the corner, now making it 19-11 to the home team.

Fiji rallied well, however, using their bustling forwards to good effect. Left wing Sawailau sliced through again in general play, handing off to right wing Jone Tuva to score to close the gap to 19-16.

But ill-discipline cost the Fijians one more when Leuila re-extended the lead to 22-16 with another penalty.

Fiji attacked the far end, but their forwards came up with a crucial error in knocking on after a series of pick and goes. Their chance was lost and the Barbarians got themselves down the far end of the field and managed to close the math out.

The win was the Barbarians’ sixth win in their history and they remain unbeaten since 2010.

Scores: New Zealand Barbarians 22 (Shelford Murray 2, Jarrod Adams tries; D’Angelo Leuila, pen 2 con) beat Fiji Schools 16 (Edward Sawailau, Jone Tuva tries; Manasa Mataele pen, Sela Toga pen) ht: 7-6

04 October 2014
By Jack Callender & Steven White




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