New Zealand U20s 97 (Leicester Faingaanuku 2, Ricky Jackson, Tom Christie, Tom Florence, Kaleb Trask, penalty try, Harry Plummer, Bailyn Sullivan, Tanielu Tele'a, Sione Asi, Carlos Price, Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, Will Tremain, Billy Proctor tries; Harry Plummer 9 con; Kaleb Trask con; Ciarahn Matoe con) beat Tonga U20s 0 HT: 42-0
The New Zealand U20s made a statement on the Gold Coast tonight.
In a completely dominant performance, they beat the Tonga U20s 97-0 in their first match of three of the Oceania U20 tournament.
The New Zealand side, with an array of recent First XV players featured on College Sport Media over the past couple of years on board, ran in 15 unanswered tries, with 13 different try-scorers.
New Zealand was dominant throughout, the forwards laying a sound platform from the get-go in both set-pieces and at the breakdowns and the backs running rampant, particularly in the second half.
First five-eighth Harry Plummer was given an armchair ride and he showed his full bag of tricks with his kicking and running games. The whole team stood out, but rangy blindside flanker Tom Florence was our forwards Player of the Match and Plummer the best of the backs.
Playing with the aid of a strong wind in the first half, New Zealand scored seven first-half tries and led 42-0 at the break.
A dominant scrum, ownership of the breakdowns and some swift running by all the backs completely shut Tonga out of the game in the first 40 minutes.
Early field position led to centre Billy Proctor putting left-wing Leicester Faingaanuku away for the first try after 90 seconds. First five-eighth Harry Plummer converted from out wide for a 7-0 lead.
Hooker Ricky Jackson crossed from a clinical lineout drive to score their second try to make it 12-0.
A flowing period of phase play up into the 22 led to an overlap out wide and their third try to captain and openside flanker Tom Christie. Plummer added the extras for a 19-0 lead.
A fourth try went begging - twice. First, Jackson went close to scoring his second from another lineout drive. Second, No. 8 Devan Flanders linked up with halfback Carlos Price but the latter knocked on over the line.
Tonga’s reprieve was short-lived, New Zealand running back the next clearing kick and blindside flanker Tom Florence galloping through to score their fourth try.
Plummer darted from an attacking lineout and Fullback Kaleb Trask shot through some weak defence to score their next try and a 33-0 lead.
Left-wing Faingaanuku crossed for his double just before halftime - the sweetest try of the first spell. Plummer ran hard at the advantage line from a rock-steady scrum platform 40 metres out. Plummer offloaded in the tackle to Trask who dabbed through a kick and the former Nelson College wing flew through to score untroubled. Plummer’s sideline conversion made it 35-0.
Tighthead prop Kaliopasi Uluilakepa went beastmode in a scrum, winning a penalty and a scrum turnover. No. 8 Devan Flanders went for a pushover try and was repelled, but a penalty try was awarded.
Things went from bad to worse for Tonga, conceding a yellow card for a blatant offside and were lucky not to concede another try as New Zealand knocked on and went into halftime leading 42-0.
Lock John Akau'ola-Laula soared high and won the second half kick-off and New Zealand was almost in again from a resultant scrum and grubber kick by Plummer. Tonga escaped but right-wing Bailyn Sullivan intercepted a pass and went close again.
Tonga failed to clear adequately and this time left-wing Faingaanuku went close to barging over for his hat-trick. From the next ruck, Plummer made a cheeky dab at the corner flag and scored the first try of the second half – bringing up the half-century in the process.
Breaks by centre Proctor and Plummer and quick recycling led to the next try to right wing Sullivan. Plummer converted and it was now 59-0.
Second five-eighth Tanielu Tele'a scored their next try, cutting through up the middle to score under the posts.
Not to be outdone, the forwards picked and drove for six phases and replacement prop Sione Asi barged over the chalk. Plummer’s conversion made it 73-0 with 12 minutes remaining.
Proctor and Price combined to score the next try, followed by replacement flanker Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa in the same corner with fullback Kaleb Trask adding the extras.
The ball was run back from the kick-off and the other replacement flanker, Will Tremain, scored next. Replacement pivot kicked ahead for centre Proctor to regather the bounce and he scored the final try of the evening.
The New Zealand U20s play Fiji on Tuesday night and then Australia next Saturday in the likely decider of the Oceania Championship.
New Zealand Under 20 coach Craig Philpott has named the team set to face Tonga in the opening match of the 2018 Under 20 Oceania Championship on the Gold Coast tonight (kick off 7pm NZT).
The team is:
1. Robert Cobb - Auckland
2. Ricky Jackson - Otago
3. Kaliopasi Uluilakepa - Wellington
4. Laghlan McWhannell - Waikato
5. John Akau'ola-Laula - Auckland
6. Tom Florence - Taranaki
7. Tom Christie - captain - Canterbury
8. Devan Flanders - Hawke's Bay
9. Carlos Price - Wellington
10. Harry Plummer - Auckland
11. Leicester Faingaanuku - Tasman
12. Tanielu Tele'a - Auckland
13. Billy Proctor - Wellington
14. Bailyn Sullivan - Waikato
15. Kaleb Trask - Bay of Plenty
16. Flynn Thomas - Southland
17. Sione Asi - Manawatu
18. Tevita Mafileo - Bay of Plenty
19. Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa - Auckland
20. William Tremain - Hawke's Bay
21. Hoskins Sotutu - Auckland
22. Xavier Roe - Waikato
23. Ciarahn Matoe - Taranaki
Philpott said the team has been preparing well this week and are looking forward to getting on the field tomorrow.
“We are still very much in selection mode if we’re looking at the World Champs. We’ve got 29 players over here and we want all of them to get game time.
Tom Christie, returning from the 2017 campaign, will captain the side, with Harry Plummer vice-captain.
Philpott said while they don’t know too much about their opposition teams at the Oceania Championship, they are expecting tough battles.
“First up we have Tonga and we have come to expect they will have a physical team that looks to play an expansive style of rugby.
“Our challenge will be keeping to our structures and systems, if we can implement our game plans and everyone gets a chance to stretch their legs we’ll be happy,” said Philpott.
Schedule for Oceania Under 20 Championship:
Friday 27 April v Tonga, 7.00pm NZT
Tuesday 1 May v Fiji, 5.00pm NZT
Saturday 5 May v Australia, 9.00pm NZT
Watch the Oceania Under 20 Championship
All games will be live streamed on http://www.rugby.com.au/and the Oceania Rugby facebook page.
First XV Rugby always throws up an abundance of new talent to admire, but here are 10 names to keep an eye on in First XV rugby nationwide this season (actually 11 for good measure). This is not a definitive list – and is alphabetical order:
James Arscott (Otago BHS) - In recent times Otago has a fine history of producing quality halfbacks with Josh Renton and Tim Hogan both earning selection for the New Zealand Schools. Arscott, a transfer from Roncalli College, could replicate the efforts of Renton and Hogan with a top season.
A swift pass, coupled with a solid boot and sound grasp of tactics, makes Ascroft a fine acquisition for Otago. Arscott was a real standout in a Roncalli team that only won once in 14 games last year, snapping a 42 game losing streak.
Carys Dallinger (Manukura) - Manawatu’s Manukura are a team on the rise in girls 15s rugby as well as sevens, and shape as one side that could stir the pot later this year. To get to the Top 4 they will have to win the Hurricanes region final and most likely defeat defending champions St Mary’s (see below). Carys Dallinger is a fast, skilful midfielder in the longer form of the game and has proven hard to put down. She is a natural leader of her side and she will have only grown in confidence with her recent involvement in the New Zealand u18 Schoolgirls sevens team.
Dhys Faleafaga (St Mary’s College) - Was the first female nominated for the Sky Sport Player of the Year after a series of blockbuster performances at either No.8 or second-five for first time National champions, St Mary’s College. Faleafaga is a bruising defender and commanding carrier and has already appeared for the Wellington Pride senior team.
Niko Jones (St Peter’s College, Auckland) - The son of great All Black Michael Jones, Niko used to play prop, but has switched to No.8 where his hard running and defence will be invaluable for St Peter’s. Niko made the Blues U18 camp last year.
Isaiah Punavi (Saint Kentigern College) -When Christ’s College beat Christchurch Boys’ High School for the first time in 16 years last season Punavi was hoisted onto the shoulders of his schoolmates and carried triumphantly from the field. Will Isaiah have a similar impact in Pakuranga?
Punavi burst onto the scene in 2015 scoring 16 tries in the UC Championship. Last year he earned selection for the New Zealand Schools and was arguably the best of the backs in Australia.
A leader with pace and power, Punavi presents a major threat to any opposition. NZ Schools first-five Rivez Reihana and Blues U18 lock and son of All Black Eric Rush, Robert Rush are among others to watch in a typically stacked St Kent’s team.
Jack Rose (St Andrew’s College) - The former loose forward converted to prop in 2016 and enjoyed ground-breaking success earning selection for the Crusaders Knights U18 camp where he made the reserves for the Hurricanes match in Wellington, playing the entire second-half. Rose can cover both sides of the scrum, but prefers loosehead because of the more aggressive nature of that position. Rose’s confrontational approach helped St Andrew’s win their centenary match against Christ’s College last season.
Montessa Tairakena and Jazmin Hotham (Hamilton GHS) - This pair cleaned up the Condor Sevens won by Hamilton Girls’ in December and are equally dynamic in the fifteen- a-side game. Hotham is smaller and quicker whereas Tairakena is a bully with searing pace. Both girls were on fire at the Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s in March and a bound to feature prominently in various rep squads.
Liam Udy-Johns (Hastings BHS) - The Hurricanes' U18 development squad member has been appointed skipper of the National Top Four championship holding First XV. A tireless defender and dependable lineout target, Udy-Johns wasn’t the flashiest member of Hastings all-conquering class last year, but he was one of their most valuable.
Keelan Whitman (St Pat’s Town) - Tall and athletic with an obvious ‘presence’ on the field, Whitman can cover lock or loose forward and will look to seek higher honours than his NZ Maori U18 selection last year. Keelan’s older brother Grayson Whitman made the Samoa Under-20’s in 2017 and plays senior football in the capital for Marist St Pats.
Josh Southall from St Pats Silverstream is another loose forward to monitor. He made the New Zealand Schools tour as a Year 12 openside.
Drew Wild (Feilding HS) - In March College Sport Media reported after the Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s: “Drew Wild was the player of the tourney. Resolute on defence he was the creative catalyst for champions Fielding.”
Wild is also a capable fifteen aside player who swaps easily between first-five and fullback and kicks goals. Only small in stature, but quick on his feet and deceptively strong, Wild has been a key ingredient in Feilding reaching the National co-ed top four final for the past two years, winning the title in 2016.
Above: Montessa Tairakena running in a try for Hamilton Girls' High School at the recent Sir Gordon Tietjens 7s tournament.
“The first place we stayed was a gated hotel in Johannesburg which was pretty nice considering we were surrounded by slums. Seeing the poverty in South Africa reminded us of how we shouldn't take things for granted,” Louie Chapman of Christchurch Boys’ High School reflects on his first days in South Africa.
Recently the Barbarians halfback and a 26-strong squad toured South Africa as part of the World Schools Festival. Christchurch was soundly beaten in both games, but some valuable lessons were learned.
“In the first game against Grey College we were a bit shell-shocked by their size and skill and were down by four tries after 15 minutes. The middle period was pretty good. We scored some tries and built some chemistry, but our pre-season fitness didn’t kick in and we conceded three tires in the last ten minutes,” Chapman reflects.
Combating size has been an issue for South Island sides at the National Top Four with Southland Boys’ High School suffering record defeats in the past two seasons. How will Christchurch approach big North Island teams this year?
“History shows the South Island has struggled against the North Island, but the onus is on us to improve. We have to be fitter and smarter, tackle low and clean and move the ball a lot,” Chapman answers.
Christchurch’s South African trip wasn’t all about rugby. There was some sightseeing, team bonding and a special visit to the Crusaders dressing room at Ellis Park after their Super Rugby win over the Lions.
“We were there for about half an hour. There are about six or seven Christchurch old boys in the Crusaders so it was pretty cool to hang out with the likes of Matt Todd and Tim Bateman who was a head boy,” Chapman enthuses.
The tour cost each boy $5,000. Chapman says much of the fundraising was done by the Christchurch community.
“It was pretty crazy the support we got. We had three big fundraisers, including a race night and a golf tournament. We’ve got some great sponsors and a real chemistry for the season ahead.”
Christchurch has won the UC Championship 10 times and in the past three years have captured the crown twice winning 42 out of 47 games, including a streak of 27 in a row. Christchurch has scored 1865 points in this period. With much the same backline as 2017 returning expect Christchurch to score heavily again.
“Our strength will be in the backs. We have the likes of Ryan Barnes and Ollie Lewis back. We will need a good forward back to get us the ball, but the seconds had some good players last year so I’m sure we’ll come together pretty quickly,” Chapman anticipates.
One of the most anticipated games of the season in the garden city is the annual clash between Christ’s College and Boys’ High. For the first time in 16 years it was Christ’s who won in 2017.
“I guess one team had to lose to them and unfortunately it was us. Christ’s deserved their win. They played well and took their chances,” Chapman concedes.
“This year we will have less pressure on us, but the season isn’t defined by that game. The likes of St Bede’s, Nelson and St Andrew’s are always contenders in the UC Championship,” Chapman continued.
In the summer Christchurch are perennial contenders in cricket. In fact the First XI has won the National title for the past two seasons and nine times since 2005. Chapman is a rep standard batsman and right arm off spinner.
“There’s a great culture and strong depth for cricket at Boys’ High. We're not a team built on individuals so at a five day tournament like the Nationals somebody different will perform every day. I really enjoy my cricket and last season went good,” Chapman says.
What code is his preference?
“I get asked that question a lot and at this stage I have no idea,” Chapman responds.
In addition to his sporting prowess, Chapman is the head prefect at Boys’ High. Why was Chapman preferred to others?
“Not sure. I must have talked myself up more than others at the interview I guess it helps I’m a leader in rugby and cricket which gives me a bit of a reputation around school. It’s a huge privilege to be the head boy and I do my best to lead by example, ” Chapman theorises.
In 2015, Jake Bailey was the head prefect. His moving speech about life and leadership shortly after being struck down by cancer went viral and was a big source of inspiration for Louis.
“Jake is a legend. He’s in remission now and lives on the Gold Coast. He has a book out and is living proof of why we shouldn’t take things for granted,” Chapman concludes.
Christchurch Boys’ High School’s South African Results:
Grey College: 66 (De Wet Marais 3, Franco Smith, Ian Small-Smith 2, Wyclef Vitoor 2, Werner Gouws, George Coetzee; Zander du Plessis 8 con) Christchurch BHS: 28 (George Harding, Cullen Moody, Ryan Barnes, Corbon Harding tries; Moody 4 con)
Paarl Boishaai: 25 (Ewan Roos 2, Vian van der Sandt, Cullan van der Merwe; Trent Sirvetsen con, pen) Christchurch BHS: 7 (Max Hughes try; Ollie Lewis con)
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