Preparation for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship kicks into action in Palmerston North this week with 46 players selected for the first trial camp of the year.
The camp begins on Thursday with a tight five clinic led by All Blacks scrum guru Mike Cron, before all players assemble for a five-day programme. Two trial teams will be selected to play Hurricanes Development and a Wellington XV on Saturday 10 March.
Players selected to attend the trial camp are:
John Akau'ola-Laula - Auckland
Sione Asi - Manawatu
Suetena Asomua - Counties Manukau
Tom Christie - Canterbury
Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta - Tasman
Rob Cobb - Auckland
Devan Flanders - Hawkes Bay
Tom Florence - Taranaki
Brayden Iose - Manawatu
Ricky Jackson - Otago
Joe Johnson - Bay of Plenty
Josh Kaho - Waikato
Tevita Mafileo - Bay of Plenty
Slade McDowall - Otago
Sam Moli - Tasman
Jeriah Mua - Bay of Plenty
Xavier Numia - Wellington
Taine Plumtree - Wellington
Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa - Auckland
Matene Ruawai - Manawatu
Ben Sa'u - Auckland
Bradley Slater - Taranaki
Flynn Thomas - Southland
Will Tucker - Canterbury
Kaliopasi Uluilakepa - Wellington
Tupou Vaa'i - Taranaki
Stan van den Hoven - Bay of Plenty
Leicester Faingaanuku - Tasman
Scott Gregory - Northland
Jack Grooby - Tasman
Ciarahn Matoe - Taranaki
Raymond Nu'u - Canterbury
Rupena Parkinson - Tasman
Harry Plummer - Auckland
Rameka Poihipi - Canterbury
Carlos Price - Wellington
Billy Proctor - Wellington
Ngane Punivai - Canterbury
Jay Renton - Southland
Xavier Roe - Waikato
Jamie Spowart - Tasman
Bailyn Sullivan - Waikato
Tanielu Tele'a - Auckland
Kaleb Trask - Bay of Plenty
Ueta Tufuga - Manawatu
Quinn Tupaea - Waikato
Not Considered due to Super Rugby or Sevens commitments
Caleb Clarke - Blues
Will Jordan - Crusaders
Vilimoni Koroi - All Blacks Sevens
Not considered due to injury
Jacob Devery - Hawke's Bay
Tim Farrell - Hawke's Bay
Laghlan McWhannell - Waikato
Ajay Mua - Bay of Plenty
Hoskins Sotutu - Auckland
Cameron Suafoa - Auckland
Sione Talitui - Auckland
Sheldon Tovio - Waikato
Will Tremain - Hawke's Bay
New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Craig Philpott has taken a fulltime role with New Zealand Rugby in 2018 which expands his appointment beyond just the World Championship campaign.
Philpott said this camp is an important component in building the squad.
“We had these players in camp in December for some testing and to set expectations and goals. This week we get to see how they have progressed over the summer months and really start building towards June."
The squad features several players who had been involved in the 2017 wider squad, while six players have been recognised for their performances in the New Zealand Schools’ campaign late last year.
A further camp for the New Zealand Under 20 squad will be held in April, before taking part in the Oceania Tournament on the Gold Coast in April and May. A squad of 28 will be selected to go to the Under 20 World Championship in France from 25 May – 18 June 2017.
The 2018 Sir Gordon Tietjens was played on Friday and Saturday at CET Arena at Palmerston North. The weather was hit and much of the rugby was sizzling.
Tournament winners were Feilding High School (Open Boys), Hamilton Girls' High School (Open Girls) and Palmerston North Boys' High School (U15 Boys).
Our tournament review is here
Day 2 (Saturday) highlights of some of the tries scored are below:
Two new champions have been anointed at the fifth annual Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s tournament in Palmerston North today. First time entrants and Condor 7s champions Hamilton Girls’ High School captured the Cup in the female section while Feilding High School overcame Scots College, Wellington in a tough open boys decider.
Hamilton Girls’ made an electric start in the girls finale against Manukura scoring three tries in as many minutes. Montessa Tairakena and Jazmin Hotham employed their searing pace to outflank the Manukura defence and then the former poached an intercept and dashed 40-metres as Hamilton surged ahead 21-0. Both Tairakena and Hotham were tournament team selections and Hamilton scored their third try after being reduced to six players due to a yellow card.
Manukura played with admirable spirit throughout and courageously scored two tries before halftime to reduce the deficit to seven. Isabella Rewiri-Wharerau muscled through traffic to put Manukura on the board before Lucy Brown skipped clear after a frantic lead up saw play stretched to both touchlines.
Manukura were made to pay for inaccuracy and a quick tap by Calista Wihone extended Hamilton’s advantage to 26-14. Lonita Ngalu and Lela Ieremia extended the final margain to 36-14 in favour of Hamilton.
The boys decider was won by Feilding High School 22-10 over Scots College. The imposing Ethan Webster-Nonu pushed and sprinted his way to the line for the first try. Feilding rallied and Hurricanes U18 rep Josiah Maraku profited from a penalty tap.
Drew Wild was possibly the player of the tourney. Resolute on defence he was the creative catalyst for Fielding on attack and when he put Moape Rokosuka in the clear, Fielding enjoyed a hard-earned edge at the break.
Wild scored first in the second half and when Layton Manuel completed an angled burst to the line, Scots future resistance proved to be a case of too little, too late. Iassc Sailo scored the last try doing just enough to foils Wild’s defence hustle.
There was also an U15 boys and intermediate competition staged. The U15 final was won by Palmerston North Boys’ High School. Against Napier Boys’ High School. Curtis Heaphy scored three tries, each from past halfway, in Palmerston North’s triumph.
Girls: Manukura: 21 v Sacred Heart College, New Plymouth: 19
Girls: Hamilton Girls' High School: 39 v Tauranga Girls' College: 0
Boys: Scots College: 29 v Palmerston North Boys' High School: 5
Boys: Feilding High School: 22 v St. Paul's Collegiate: 12
Just a few inches decided the first female semi-final between Manukura and Sacred Heart. Ahead 19-14 with only seconds remaining Sacred Heart fumbled a kick inside their 22 and Lucy Brown snaffled the loose ball for Manukura and wrestled over in the grasp of two defenders. Brown then composed herself and slotted the conversion to complete a dramatic 21-19 win.
Manukura started strongly by scoring the first try, but Sacred Heart quickly arrested the momentum and tries to Alix Blyde and RongomIhenga Waerea-Hohaia saw the Taranaki side ahead at the interval. Carys Dallinger scored a runaway try from halfway to draw Manukura closer, but Danielle Muggeridge galloped away for Sacred Heart to bring her side within a whisker of victory until a last blemish proved cruelly costly.
Hamilton made light work of Tauranga Girls' College winning 39-0. Hamilton scored seven tries and kicked two conversions in their routine victory. Lontia Ngalu was rampant from the outset scoring the first two tries, including a massive fend in the face on a would-be Tauranga defender prior to competing her second. Calista Wihone (2), Tairakena and Hotham were among the other Hamilton try scorers.
Scots made a fast start to consign hosts Palmerston North Boys' High School to the third place playoff. Scots superior speed and intensity saw Roderick Solo, Sage Shaw-Tait and Emparama Sailo cross the chalk in the first-half as Scots built an unassailable lead. Scots first two tries were scored from deep inside their own half.
Darel Lander dotted down for Palmerston North on the halftime hooter, but Scots controlled the second spell with the busy Webster-Nonu having the last say.
Feilding High School eliminated defending champions St. Paul's Collegiate in a gripping tussle. Drew Wild was inspirational in Feilding's victory scoring the opening five-pointer and making a try saving tackle on the much larger Valynce Crosby-Te Whare which was pivotal in turning the pendulum Feilding's way.
Tino Tahitua levelled the scores for St. Paul's, but after the Wild stop Feilding scored a cracking try to gain a lead they never lost. Paul Rakatau-Wiperi was frequently illusive for Feilding and was rewarded with the last try, impressively slipping his marker with swift footwork.
The results of the Open Boys cup quarter-finals were:
Scots College: 31 v Hato Paora College: 5
Feilding High School: 21 v Napier Boys' High School: 0
Palmerston North Boys' High School: 17 Manukura:12
St Paul's Collegiate: 45 v Northland College: 0
There were standout performances in the quarter-finals by Drew Wild who scored two long range tries for Feilding and big Eparama Sailo who bagged a hat-trick for Scots against Hato Paora.
,Sir Gordon Tietjens spent 20 years coaching the All Blacks Sevens, leading them to numerous titles and mentoring many great players. He is now coaching the Samoan national team
This weekend’s fifth annual tournament that bears his name promises to be as exciting as the teams he has prepared down the years.
This year’s tournament, being played at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North, runs from 3pm-9pm on Friday and from 8.30am to 2.30pm on Saturday, across four grades: Open Boys, Open Girls, U15 Boys and Intermediate Mixed (new). A total of 37 teams are taking part, with 98 games being played across three fields including inside the stadium itself where all matches will be live streamed.
Open boys defending champions St Paul’s Collegeiate return to defend their title, but two-time defending champions St Mary’s College are a late withdrawal citing injury and commitment to other sports (or both) of most of their leading players. A new Open Girls champion will be crowned in a strong field that includes National Condor 7s champions Hamilton Girls’ High School.
Last year, St Paul’s defeated Tauranga Boys’ College 24-14 in the Open Boys final, St Mary’s College beat Motueka High School 28-12 in the Open Girls Final Palmerston North Boys’ High School defeated Feilding High School 19-15 in the U15 decider
View and download the draw here https://drive.google.com/a/clubrugby.co.nz/file/d/1OKPr4PE1trrBHY2RGSGmslehwxt1svym/view?usp=drive_web
Thirty of New Zealand’s best secondary schools sevens talent will vie for places in the New Zealand Under 18 sevens team, at a trial in Wellington next month.
Among the trialists are two current Black Fern Sevens squad members, Risi Pouri-Lane (17) and Jazmin Hotham (17), and has players from 20 schools across 11 Provincial Unions.
The trial squad (with school and Provincial Union) is;
Saphire Abraham - Howick College (Auckland)
Kalyn Takitimu Cook - Manukura (Manawatu)
Cheyne Copeland - St Mary's College (Wellington)
Carys Dallinger - Manukura (Manawatu)
Tiana Davison - Sacred Heart Girls' College (Taranaki)
Princess Elliot - Mt Albert Grammar School (Auckland)
Dhys Faleafaga - St Mary's College (Wellington)
Tynealle Fitzgerald - Rangiuru Rugby Club (Bay of Plenty)
Jessica Heath - Long Bay College (North Harbour)
Tahina Heta - Pukekohe High School (Counties Manukau)
Iritana Hohaia - Opunake High School (Taranaki)
Jazmin Hotham - Hamilton Girls’ High School (Waikato)
Lucy Jenkins - St Margaret's College (Canterbury)
Rosie Kelly - Christchurch Girls’ High School (Canterbury)
Emily Kitson - Waiuku College (Counties Manukau)
Riscshay Lemanu - Papatoetoe High School (Auckland)
Kalisi Longopoa - Mt Albert Grammar School (Auckland)
Azalleyah Maaka - Gisborne Girls’ High School (Poverty Bay)
Brooke Neilson - New Plymouth Girls’ High School (Taranaki)
Temaiora Olsen-Baker - Gisborne Girls’ High School (Poverty Bay)
Mahina Paul - St Kentigern College (Auckland)
Abigail Roache - Mt Albert Grammar School (Auckland)
Ivamere Rokoduna (Livani) - Howick College (Auckland)
Shalom Setu-Veve - Howick College (Auckland)
Kiani Tahere - Te Wharekura o Mauao (Bay of Plenty)
Montessa Tairakena - Hamilton Girls’ High School (Waikato)
Arorangi Tauranga - Hamilton Girls’ High School (Waikato)
Hinemoa Watene - Howick College (Auckland)
Calista Wihone - Hamilton Girls’ High School (Waikato)
The team will be coached by former Black Fern Victoria Grant and Peter Nock.
New Zealand Rugby’s High Performance Talent Development Sevens Manager Chad Tuoro said introducing the programme has allowed scouts to identify and grow young talent.
“At the end of last year, we assembled Under 17 and Under 18 squads for the World School Sevens and it was a great opportunity to see a number of these players in action together.
“We’re excited that these campaigns have given young players an opportunity to experience international competition and give them experience in a high performance programme.
“Already we have seen fantastic players like Risi and Jazmin selected into the Black Ferns Sevens programme at only 17 years of age, and that is a great example of the amazing opportunities that are available for our young female players.
“This trial is important as the squad we select will wear the black jersey and could represent New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games but we are under no illusions that we will have to work hard to get to that point,” said Tuoro.
The group will assemble in Wellington over 9-11 March from which a squad will be selected to prepare for April’s Oceania Rugby Under 18 Sevens Championship in Sydney, where they need to win to be in contention for a place at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in October.
Two current schoolgirl players and one 2017 school-leaver have been selected in the Black Ferns Sevens squad for 2018.
Risi Pouri-Lane (Motueka High School) and Lyric Faleafaga (St Mary’s College) have both been selected in 20-player contracted squad, while Jazmin Hotham (Hamilton Girls’ High School) is one of three additional players with training contracts.
Black Ferns Sevens Coach Allan Bunting said the growth in the women’s game has unearthed talented athletes and that he is looking forward to working with the new players.
“We have been keeping a close eye on the development group for quite a while and watched how they performed at Nationals last month.
“The players we have brought in have a lot of potential and the ability to learn and grow quickly. They will add enthusiasm to our group and have the character and work ethic that we are after,” said Bunting.
Hotham was a member of the New Zealand Under 17 girls’ sevens team last December and was the 2016 Condor 7s Player of the Tournament.
“We saw Hotham in action last year and could see her talent then. She stands out at everything she does, she is deputy head girl and we want her to enjoy her last year at school. We want to support her and hopefully she will graduate into our squad full time next year.”
Pouri-Lane finished Year 13 at Motueka High School last year and joins the Black Ferns Sevens full time in 2018.
“Risi has shown a real dedication to Sevens over the past few years and has been a part of the development squad. She comes from a judo background and you can see that, she is good in contact. Risi is keen to learn and brings a well-rounded skill set.
Falefaga is on the comeback in 2018 from a shoulder operation, after leading St Mary’s to the 2017 Sanix World title in Japan and then linking up with the Black Ferns in Japan as a training partner.
“The idea of training contacts is to support these younger players to migrate into the full squad. There is a big gap between national and international level, so we are looking to give them support to get physically ready and grow their technical skill set.”
Bunting said the aim is to not only grow his squad but work closely with the development programme as well.
“The plan this year is to give all of our contracted players experience on the field at some stage. Commonwealth Games and World Cup will be our top players, but we want to inject others throughout the year and have 20 players that are capable of competing for the playing 12 every tournament.
“Beyond that we really want to grow the depth, we want to see the development squad players challenging for contracts and have a good group of 30 players pushing for spots.”
The squad is now preparing for April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia, before three World Sevens Series tournament and theRugby World Cup Sevens round out the season.
The contracted squad is (* indicates a new contracted player):
Shakira Baker – Waikato
Michaela Blyde - Bay of Plenty
Kelly Brazier – Bay of Plenty
Gayle Broughton – Bay of Plenty
Lyric Faleafaga – Wellington
Rhiarna Ferris – Manawatu*
Theresa Fitzpatrick – Auckland
Sarah Goss – Manawatu
Huia Harding – Waikato*
Jazmin Hotham – Waikato* (training contract)
Natahlia Moors - Auckland* (training contract)
Tyla Nathan-Wong – Auckland
Risi Pouri-Lane – Tasman*
Leanna Ryan - Waikato* (training contract)
Alena Saili - Southland
Shiray Tane – Waikato
Terina Te Tamaki – Waikato
Ruby Tui – Bay of Plenty
Stacey Waaka – Waikato
Kat Whata-Simpkins – Wellington
Niall Williams – Auckland
Tenika Willison – Waikato
Portia Woodman – Counties Manukau
Jake Russ was keen to begin 2018 by settling some old scores.
Russ was the starting openside flanker in the Hamilton Boys’ High School First XV which lost the National Top Four Rugby final to Hastings Boys’ High School in September 2017.
Last week the Hamilton First XI faced Hastings in the first game of the Super 8 cricket tournament. Russ made 100.
“I was pretty lucky to be honest. I was dropped early in my innings and struggled to score freely for a while because the ball was nipping about. When I decided to play more expansively things started happening,” Russ recalls.
Unfortunately, the match was abandoned at the halfway point due to a storm. However, Hamilton posted 279 and the century by Russ was the catalyst for greater things to follow.
Hamilton convincingly beat Napier Boys’ High School and then extracted revenge upon Tauranga Boys’ College, who eliminated Hamilton from Secondary School Boys' First XI Cup Finals contention last year. Russ captures the action against the Northern Districts champions.
“Tauranga won the toss and put us into the field. We managed to bowl them out for 145, but had a niggly period before lunch where we had to survive half an hour. We lost two wickets before Jacob Parker and Jake Ottow guided us to victory.”
Parker made 98 not out and was singled out for special praise by Russ.
“Jacob opens the batting and bowling. He's only year 11 and has a big future,” Russ acclaimed.
Hamilton has won the Super 8 cricket title ten times.
Russ is the only student at Hamilton in the First XV rugby and First XI cricket sides. He has grown from 72kg to 91kg in 12 months. A strict diet and strong bond with his teammates has driven Russ to greater heights.
“I enjoy the camaraderie of the rugby boys,” Russ explains. “We get on really well and build a strong bond.”
“We have about 10 returning players this season. Most of them are in the forwards so we will look to dominate teams in that area before utilising our speed out wide.”
What does Hamilton’s First XV have to do to become National champions? What has to change from the Top Four final last year?
“I don't think we could've played any better. Hastings was a very good team. There was nothing in it,” Russ asserts.
Russ was a member of the Hamilton side that won the Condor 7s in December. Hamilton beat Scots College, Wellington in the final to win the crown for the third year on the trot.
Jake’s mother is a school teacher and his father runs a retirement village. Jake is uncertain which sport he will pursue next year. However he has made the choice harder for himself already.
2017 Auckland Premier 1A champion and Top 4 semi-finalist Saint Kenitgern College have propelled one of their own to national honours, with fullback Etene Nanai selected in the All Black Sevens for this weekend’s World Rugby Sydney Sevens.
Nanai joins the All Black Sevens team for Sydney for his first time in a senior national team. He has previously represented the New Zealand Secondary Schools team, beating Australia and Tonga in October.
All Blacks Sevens coach Clarke Laidlaw says this of Nanai "Etene is a young player with huge potential, and he is enjoying his rugby. It's exciting for him and his family to get this opportunity in Sydney.”
The team arrived in Sydney on Sunday to begin preparation for the tournament.
"We face a big challenge in Russia, Samoa and Fiji in pool stages, so this week has been about making sure our preparation is right heading into Friday," said Laidlaw.
Former Mount Albert Grammar School co-captain Caleb Clarke has been named as the 13th man and will be brought into the playing 12 if required as injury cover.
The team is (*indicates debut):
1. Scott Curry
2. Tim Mikkelson
3. Teddy Stanaway
4. Joe Ravouvou
5. Luke Masirewa
6. Vilimoni Koroi
7. Sam Dickson
8. Andrew Knewstubb
9. Regan Ware
10. Kurt Baker
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo*
12. Sione Molia
13. Caleb Clarke*
Friday 26 January
9.50pm NZT v Russia
Saturday 27 January
6.31pm NZT v Samoa
9.42pm NZT v Fiji
Sunday 28 January – Finals Day
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 1-2 December, Dubai – RUNNERS UP
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 9-10 December, Cape Town - WINNERS
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 26-28 January, Sydney
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 3-4 February, Hamilton
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2-4 March, Las Vegas
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 10-11 March, Vancouver
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 6-8 April, Hong Kong
Commonwealth Games, 13-15 April, Gold Coast
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 28-29 April, Singapore
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 2-3 June, London
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, 8-10 June, Paris
Rugby World Cup Sevens, 20-22 July, San Francisco
Young Auckland player Caleb Clarke, son of former All Black Eroni, has been selected in the All Blacks Sevens side for the HSBC Sydney Sevens, to be held next weekend
Clarke co-captained the Mount Albert Grammar School side that won the National Top 4 in 2016. He has been recently been training with the Blues. He joins 2016 Feilding High Schoo fullback Vilimoni Koroi in the side, while 2016 Southland Girls' High School star Alena Saili has been selected in the equivalent women's side. Koroi and Saili have previously worn the black jersey.
Read our profile with Caleb Clarke from 2016 here
The squad is (* indicates new caps):
Kurt Baker (Manawatu)
Caleb Clarke (Auckland)*
Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty)
Sam Dickson (Canterbury)
Andrew Knewstubb (Tasman)
Vilimoni Koroi (Otago)
Luke Masirewa (Bay of Plenty)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Sione Molia (Counties Manukau)
Joe Ravouvou (Auckland)
Teddy Stanaway (Bay of Plenty)
Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty)
Joe Webber (Bay of Plenty)
Coach Clarke Laidlaw said the squad returned from the summer break in fantastic condition.
“We had 15 out of 17 players record Personal Bests in the fitness testing which seems ridiculous after a few weeks away. But the break was good because we’d had a lot happening since we centralised, so the players time away and they have returned really refreshed.”
The only changes from the Cape Town tournament see Clarke and Masirewa replace the injured Trael Joass and Dylan Collier.
“It’s an opportunity for these players and it is the start of us building depth in our squad. We are happy with the group of players we have got so giving them time out on the field is important,” said Laidlaw.
Clarke joins the All Blacks Sevens environment from Investec Super Rugby pre-season training with the Blues.
“We’ve worked closely with the Blues to have Caleb released to train with us and he is part of our plan to build depth heading into the Commonwealth Games. He’s a big, powerful winger and we are really excited about unleashing him.”
Masirewa joined the squad on Monday after an impressive National Sevens campaign with Bay of Plenty. Laidlaw said it has been a long-term plan getting Masirewa back in the back jersey.
“We’re excited about having Luke back in our environment, he’s been working hard for the past year and has ticked all the boxes we have asked of him. He’s a real point of difference; Luke is an aerial forward that can break the game open.”
The All Blacks Sevens currently sit atop the HSBC Series standings but Laidlaw said there is plenty of room for improvement.
“There were fine lines in the last two tournaments and we could have easily been tipped out and any stage so we are working at getting better in all areas, both on and off the field.”
A tough pool sees the All Blacks Sevens come up against Russia, Samoa and Fiji.
It was a New Zealand one-two at a sunny Sacred Heart College today, with the New Zealand Condors (Boys) and New Zealand U17s (Girls) sides winning their respective tournaments.
The second annual tournament featured international and invitational teams from Australia, Japan, Canada, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands, as well as a Maori Invitational and three New Zealand teams.
The New Zealand Condors Boys side beat the New Zealand Fijians 27-17 in the Boys Cup final, while the New Zealand U17s defeated the visiting Australian Schoolgirls team 20-19 in a last-play thriller to claim the Girls title.
Australia had knocked out the New Zealand U18s team in the Girls Cup semi-finals, while the New Zealand Condors had thrashed Australia in their Boys Cup semi-final.
Tournament round-up and results below.
After going down to the New Zealand Condors team early, the Samoan Barbarians were convincing 43-7winners (33-0 at halftime) over the Tongan Barbarians side.
The New Zealand Condors unit came out in the next match and defeated the visiting Canadians 34-0 – Jaylen Taupola from Scots College and Rico Symes from Christchurch Boys’ High School each scoring two tries.
The defending champions Australians lost to the New Zealand Fijians in pool play, but bounced back to beat Maori Invitational side 38-7, after opening up a 28-0 halftime lead. This was to prove their tournament high point.
It was joy for the Fijians and heartbreak for the Samoan Barbarians at the end of the first Cup semi-final, with the Fijians winning 21-17 on the hooter.
JayJay Su'emai from Aorere College opened the scoring for the Samoans. Caleb MuntZ from Hamilton Boys’ High School and Issac Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens from Francis Douglas Memorial College both replied for the Fijians to put them ahead 14-5 at the interval. Early in the second half Fiji conceded a yellow card from a high tackle inside their 22, presenting a try to Samoa to Hastings Boys’ High School’s Jeriah Mua, cutting the lead to 14-12. Mua’s school teammate Dany Toala set up a try to Auckland’s Siave Togoiu to put Samoa ahead 17-14 with 50 seconds remaining. Fiji attacked from deep inside their 22 and Rotorua Boys’ High School’s Selestino Ravutaumada scored the winner.
Fiji earned the right to play the New Zealand Condors side in the Cup final, after the latter defeated a tiring Australia side 42-0 in a contrasting second semi-final.
New Zealand made a cracking start, catching Australia napping off an attacking scrum and Taupola strolled through to the whitewash. Northland’s Scott Gregory powered through the defensive line to double the lead. Emoni Narawa from Hamilton Boys’ High School repeated the dose for their third try, while home school player Lemeki Namoa broke up the middle for their fourth on the break to make it 28-0 at halftime. Defensive pressure led to Namoa’s Sacred Heart teammate Taufa Funaki scoring the winner just after the interval, before setting up Rotorua Boys’ High School’s Taniella Fillimone for the sixth try.
Australia bounced back in style to beat the Samoan Barbarians 45-5 in the Plate final, Albert Hopoate scoring a hat-trick and setting up another try.
Captain Gregory showed his strength close to the line to open the Cup final scoring for the New Zealand Condors over Fiji. Peni Lasaqa from Saint Kentigern College scored an equaliser for Fiji, before Gregory crossed again on the shoulder of Brad McNaughten from Hamilton Boys’ High School. New Zealand led 10-7 at halftime.
New Zealand opened the second spell in final, with Gregory making a turnover near the sideline inside the 22 and TJ Ane from De La Salle College crossed the chalk to increase the lead to 17-7. Ane intercepted a loose pass and ran 25 metres to score his brace and it was now 22-7 with 4 minutes to play. Fiji weren’t done, New Plymouth Boys’ High School’s Saiasi Qiokata replying. But Fiji gifted New Zealand possession from an errant kick-off and Tauranga Boys’ College’s Leroy Carter scored the tournament winner. Fiji had the final say, Ratu Kuli Baleisomosomo, out of Saint Kentigern College, crossing for a consolation try to make the final score 27-17.
In a precursor to what was to come in the final, the New Zealand U17 girls side beat the Australian Schoolgirls team 5-0 in a round-robin thriller to top their pool, weathering all sorts of pressure to score the only try of the match to Hamilton Girls’ High School’s Montessa Tairakena in the 12th minute. Australia made a booming break on fulltime, but Manukura’s Kalyn Takitimu-Cook stopped a certain try with a covering tackle that ended the game.
In their semi-final, the New Zealand U17s weathered similar pressure from Japan, before Jazmin Hotham from Hamilton Girls’ High School scooped up a loose ball and scampered away to make it 7-0. Motueka High School’s Risi Pouri-Lane scored their second try that doubled the lead to 14-0 at halftime. Hotham and St Mary’s College’s Dhys Faleafaga ran in second half tries to make the final score 28-0.
The New Zealand U18s met the Australians in the second semi-final. Australia, featuring two full Australian Sevens representatives, scored the first try of the semi-final. Christchurch Girls’ High School’s Grace Brooker made a big run, setting up an equalising try that was scored by Aroranga Tauranga of Hamilton Girls’ High School. BoP’s Kororia Heyblom then busted over to put the home side up 12-7 at the turn. St Margaret’s College’s Melanie Puckett put captain Rina Paraone over for their third try, before Australia struck back to close the gap to 14-17. Australia lost a player to a yellow card, but scored again on the hooter to win 19-17.
The Girls Bowl final went to golden point extra time after the Tongans and the Samoan Barbarians finished at 12-12 at fulltime, with Patricia Maliepo scoring for the winner.
Feilding High School’s Georgia Ponsonby scored two tries as the New Zealand U18s beat Japan 20-12 to win the Plate final.
The New Zealand U17s hit the Girls Cup final with purpose, winning the kick-off, surging into the 22 and Hotham scoring the opening try. Courtney Hodder replied with an individual stunner for the Australians. New Zealand went wide from a defensive scrum to Dhys Faleafaga who skirted 80 metres to score to put the home team ahead 10-7 at halftime.
The Australians exerted pressure early in the second half and scored their second and third tries to push them ahead 19-10. New Zealand dug deep and Takitimu-Cook stretched over to cut the deficit to 15-19 with time for one more play.
Australia won the kick-off, the hooter went and Australia bombed a chance to kick the ball out. Instead, New Zealand won a penalty on the far side of play near halfway and launched a last-gasp desperate raid. Australia seemingly repelled this, but New Zealand squirted the ball out to Jazmin Hotham who scored the winner.
Game 3: New Zealand Fijians 29 – Maori Invitational 7
Game 4: Australia 38 v Cook Islands 7
Game 5: Tongan Barbarians 22 – Canada 17
Game 6: New Zealand Condors 26 - Samoa Barbarians 13
Game 9: Maori Invitational – Cook Islands TBC
Game 10: New Zealand Fijians beat Australia [Score]TBC
Game 11: Canada v Samoa Barbarians TBC
Game 12: New Zealand Condors v Tongan Barbarians TBC
Game 15: Samoa Barbarians 43 – Tongan Barbarians 7
Game 16: New Zealand Condors 34 - Canada 0
Game 17: New Zealand Fijians 34 - Cook Islands 7
Game 18: Australia 38 v Maori Invitational 7
Maori Invitational 28 – Canada 12
Tongan Barbarians 25 – Cook Islands 17
New Zealand Fijians 21 - Samoa Barbarians 17
New Zealand Condors 42 – Australia 0
Maori Invitational 17 – Tonga 5
Australia 45 - Samoan Barbarians 5
New Zealand Condors 27 - New Zealand Fijians 17
Game 1: New Zealand U17s Girls 22 – Samoa 7
Game 2: Japan Girls 17 - Tonga 10
Game 7: Australia 43 - Samoan Barbarians Girls 0
Game 8: New Zealand U18's Girls 40 v Tonga 0
Game 13: New Zealand U17s 5 – Australia 0
Game 14: New Zealand U18s 38 – Japan 5
New Zealand U17s 28 - Japan 0
Australia 19 - New Zealand U18s 17
Tonga 17 - Samoan Barbarians 12 (12-12 at fulltime)
New Zealand U18s 20 – Japan 12
New Zealand U17s 20 – Australia 19
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