New Zealand Schools Barbarians 28 (Kienan Higgins 2, Fergus Burke, Siave Seti tries; Burke 4 con) New Zealand Maori Under 18s 24 (Terrell Peita, Stewart Cruden, Josh Hill, Coel Kerr tries; John Cooper 2 con) HT: 21-12.
The New Zealand Barbarians' Schools side was pushed all the way by the New Zealand Maori U18s side before running out 28-24 winners in their match at Massey University this afternoon.
In blustery conditions, the New Zealand Maori side came home with a wet sail to score two tries and ensure a close finish, capitalising on a sinbinning and one-man advantage to come back from 12-28 behind.
The player sin-binned, second five-eighth Kienan Higgins, had earlier scored two key tries for the Barbarians either side of halftime that ultimately set up victory. Combining well with flyhalf Fergus Burke and with both tries coming off first phase from attacking scrums, his first try just before the interval had the Barbarians ahead 21-12 at the turnaround.
Ten minutes ino the second half, he scored his second which put the Barbarians comfortably ahead at that point. Both sides made changes from the bench and the Maori found confidence attacking from deep. Denied twice, and now with a one-man advantage, lock Josh Hill crossed for a try. The Barbarians burst up-field again, leading to a well-worked final try of the match to replacement wing Coel Kerr.
Earlier, following a stirring haka, the Maori had made a top start, No. 8 Terrell Peita darting over after a forwards drive.
The Barbarians responded with the game's next two tries, first five-eighth Burke dancing through traffic and right wing Siave Seti crossing after some good lead-up work and with loosehead prop Ollie Norris prominent.
The Maori side then responded with a terrific solo try to hometown first five-eighth Stewart Cruden, whose chip kick forced an error in the in-goal and he collected the spoils to score. The conversion made it 14-12 ro the Barbarians.
But the Barbarians were able to score a third converted try just prior to the interval and a fourth early in the seocnd half to give them enough of a buffer to hold on and claim their second victory of the series after beating Tonga Schools 33-19 last week. In the other match today, Tonga Schools edged the Wellington U18s 26-24.
Video highlights of the tries that were scored below:
This time last year Charles Alaimalo was playing rugby league in Melbourne. Twelve months later he returns to Australia as a member of the New Zealand Secondary Schools rugby team.
The flanker/lock was a standout for Hamilton Boys’ High School who won the Super 8 title and narrowly lost the National Top Four final against Hastings Boys’ High School. Alaimalo explains how he ended up in the Waikato.
“My Dad got a good job in Melbourne so that’s why we moved from Christchurch to Australia. I missed the atmosphere of First XV rugby in New Zealand. When my brother Solomon got in the Chiefs I decided to come home,” he says.
In year 11, Alaimalo started every game for St Bede’s College who won the UC Championship. Since Alaimalo left, St Bede’s hasn’t made the top four.
Solomon’s lifestyle in Hamilton wasn’t conducive for hosting a schoolboy. When the hostel at Hamilton Boys’ was full, Charles was homeless.
“I was blessed to be taken in by the Gordon family. They have looked after me very kindly. I am grateful,” Alaimalo accalims.
Former All Black Steve Gordon has three sons, Mac, Baxter and Arie, who have passed through Hamilton Boys.’
Hamilton coach Nigel Hotham was delighted to welcome Alaimalo to his squad, describing him as “a piece of gold that stumbled into our arms” and praising his worth ethic.
“Charles is a great kid who arrived here after a year of no rugby. It took him a while to adapt to tough trainings, but he 'got it' by the middle of Super 8 and was consistently our hardest working ball carrier all season. We couldn’t keep him off the field even when he was injured,” Hotham praised.
Alaimalo agrees there was a period of adjustment while settling into Hamilton.
“It's different to St Bede’s, way more intense. We train eight times a week which is tough, but the hard work pays off.”
Hamilton won the Super 8 by scoring a record number of points after a shock loss to Rotorua Boys’ High School in the Chiefs Cup final.
“It took us a while to find our combinations, but we had a really good culture. I am real happy for Tauterangi marie Kapea and Quinn Tupaea who also made the New Zealand Schools.” Alaimalo enthuses.
Tupaea has recovered from an injury sustained in the top four semi-final. Alaimalo has mixed emotions about the final.
“It was a tough game and Hastings is a real good team who deserved their win. There was a period midway through the second-half where we were attacking in their half and lost the ball. I wish I had involved myself more in that play.” Alaimalo rues.
Solomon Alaimalo played for the Chiefs against the British Lions and has appeared for Northland 16 times scoring four tries on the wing.
Hamilton BHS Record 2003-2017
Top Four Appearances: 2007 (Third), 2008 (Won), 2009 (Won), 2010 (Second), 2012 (Third), 2013 (Won), 2014 (Won), 2016 (Third), 2017 (Second)
Super 8 Winners: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 (Shared)
NZ Schools Players: 32 (Includes All Black Tawera Kerr-Barlow)
Moascar Cup Holders: 2008-2010, (17 defences), 2013-2014
Sanix World Youth Champions: 2010, 2011, 201
Condor Sevens Winners: 2006, 2008, 2015, 2016
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