New Zealand Schools 45 (Ngane Punivai 3, Sione Havili 2, Ciarahn Matoe 1, Billy Proctor tries; Harry Plummer 5 con) beat Fiji Schools 19 (Api Bogidrau, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Raikabula Momoedonu tries Peniasi Ratu con; Laisa Bacau con) Halftime 19-12.
Two years ago New Zealand Schools beat Fiji Schools 58-0. In their fixture today at Mount Albert Grammar School, New Zealand earned a seven tries to three win over Fiji.
Fiji was very physical from the outset of the contest, making a number of bone-jarring tackles and attempting to intimidate the New Zealanders. However, New Zealand scored the first try when King’s College’s Ciarahn Matoe grubbered ahead a spillage and touched down to make it 7-0.
Fiji replied with an unconverted try to their industrious lock Api Bogidrau.
New Zealand then enjoyed a period of ascendancy, stretching the Fijians with their quick passing and running game and consequently ran in two further tries. St Pat’s Town entre Billy Proctor crossed, followed by Christ’s College fullback Ngane Punivai darting in to score the first of his three tries. This made it 19-7.
Fiji closed the gap again, scoring their second try to right wing Timoci Tavatavanawai. This try got the vocal Fijian supporters in full voice, being a well-constructed team try involving multiple hands and plenty of flair. This made it 19-12 at the halftime interval.
New Zealand pulled away in the second half and scored four unanswered tries before Fiji had the last say.
Punivai scored two further tries and was prominent with a series of piercing breaks. Auckland Grammar School openside flanker Sione Havili had an abrasive match and he crossed for a brace. One of his tries was scored from a 20-metre lineout drive.
Fiji were rewarded for their endeavour, scoring a well worked long-range consolation try to reserve halfback Raikabula Momoedonu.
Other players for the New Zealand Schools to play well included Palmerston North Boys’ High School No. 8 and captain Brayden Iose, who made a number of breaks and won good lineout ball. Otago Boys’ High School reserve halfback Tim Hogan brought energy off the pine and St Peter’s College's Harry Plummer, playing out of position at second five-eighth.
For Fiji, fullback Sirino Moceilekutu was electric at times, their openside flanker Meli Derenalagi was a livewire and their No. 8 and captain Lemeki Cagialau played well.
Earlier in the day, the New Zealand Barbarians beat the Australian Schools side 28-17.
The international schools series continues on Saturday at Auckland Grammar School. The NZ Barbarians Schools meet Fijian Schools and New Zealand Schools play Australia Schools.
New Zealand Barbarians 28 (Folau Fakatava, Danny Toala, Lincoln McClutchie Kaleb Trask 3 pen, 2 con) beat Australian Schools 17 (Lloyd Gorman, Hunter Paisami tries; Adam Doueihi pen, con; Issac Lucas con) Halftime: Barbarians 22-10
The New Zealand Barbarians Schools beat the Australian Schools 28-17 in today’s first international Schools match played at Mount Albert Grammar School in Auckland.
The Barbarians led 22-10 at halftime and kicked clear in the second spell to take victory over the Australian Schools side, who were coming off recent wins over Samoa Schools in Apia (50-10) and Fiji Schools at Sacred Heart College (39-17).
The Australians started the match with gusto, a series of pick and goes resulting in a converted try to their loosehead prop Lloyd Gorman.
The Barbarians quickly got themselves into back the game, forwards Cameron Suafoa, Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Sam Dickson playing well as a unit all match in the physical exchanges and in the lineouts.
Barbarians fullback Kaleb Trask post the home side’s first points with a penalty , before halfback Folau Fakatava darted over from close range from an attacking lineout to put them ahead 10-7.
Australia replied with a penalty to make it 10-10, but was that was a close as they were to get.
The Barbarians scored a breakout try, Left wing Connor Garden- Bachop making a 40 metre run and setting up a try to first five-eighth Lincoln McClutchie. Trask’s conversion made it 17-10.
Right on halftime, a long McLutchie cross-kick set up a try to right wing Danny Toala, although Toala was a long way in front of the kicker making this score somewhat fortuitous for the home side.
Australia opened the second half scoring with a try to centre Hunter Paisami, which was converted from the sideline by replacement Isaac Lucas, closing the gap to 22-17.
The try came from a New Zealand fumble inside their own 22, with Paisami snaffling a loose ball and crossing through to score.
But once more, the New Zealand side took control of the rest of the match, playing well for territory and utilising the ground’s south-eastern corner that slopes away.
The Barbarians’ lineout continued to work well and New Zealand continued their abrasive approach. The result was that the Australians couldn’t escape the corner for long periods.
Fullback Trask kicked 30 metre and 40 metre second half penalties, which were enough to see the Barbarians hold on for the win.
Other players to play well for the Barbarians included centre Tanielu Bakulich-Tele’a, loosehead prop Kianu Kereru-Symes and replacement back Scott Gregory.
For the Australians, lock Esei Haangana, No. 8 Sunia Finefeuiaki and try scorer and centre Paisami were standouts.
The New Zealand Schools and Barbarians Schools teams to play Fiji and Australian Schools respectively in Auckland today, have been named.
The New Zealand Schools team to play Fiji Schools is:
1 Tim Farrell
2 Bradley Slater
3 Robb Cobb
4 Waimana Reidlinger-Kapa
5 Hoskins Sotutu
6 Ajay Mua
7 Sione Havili
8 Brayden Iose (C)
9 Carlos Price
10 Harry Plummer
11 Caleb Clarke
12 Paul Roache
13 Billy Proctor
14 Mosese Dawai
15 Ngane Punivai
16 Flynn Thomas
17 Xavier Numia
18 Damon Abraham
19 Laghlan McWhannell
20 Naera Tipoki
21 Tim Hogan
22 Ciarahn Matoe
23 Leicester Faingaanuku
Coach Jason Holland said the squad had trained and prepared well, and was looking forward to the match.
“They’ve coped really well with some pretty average weather for training, but they have been taking in a lot, and they have maintained their enthusiasm. Now they’re just keen to get out there and play,” he said.
The New Zealand Barbarians Schools team to play Australia Schools is:
1 Kianu Kereru-Symes
2 Ricky Jackson
3 Tevita Mafileo
4 Cameron Suafoa
5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi
6 Sam Dickson
7 Joe Johnston (VC)
8 Matene Ruawai
9 Folau Fakatava
10 Lincoln McClutchie (C)
11 Connor Garden-Bachop
12 Quinn Tupaea
13 Tanielu Bakulich-Tele’a
14 Danny Toala
15 Kaleb Trask
16 Perry Karati
17 Samuel Matenga
18 Suetena Asomua
19 Tupou Vaai
20 Kaylum Boshier
21 Scott Gregory
22 Niven Longopoa
23 Jamie Spowart
Head Coach Ryan Martin said he was very happy with the team’s preparation to date.
“They’ve worked hard, and they’re excited about facing an international team. We will be looking to use our dynamic forwards to create some space for our backs,” Martin said.
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