The New Zealand Secondary Schools’ have remained unbeaten against Australia since 2012, battling to a 26-12 victory in the annual Trans-Tasman test at Ballymore, Brisbane.
Driving rain and a heavy field meant both countries started cautiously, the visitors gaining the upper hand through strong lineout mauling.
Rivez Reihana failed to land his first penalty attempt, but the beastly Saula Mau wouldn’t be denied in the 10th minute from a ‘pick and go’ at close range. Moments earlier the tight head prop had been bundled into touch by multiple Australian defenders after attempting to finish in the corner.
New Zealand was unable to make the most of their territorial advantage and lapses in discipline invited the hosts back into the contest.
In the 29th minute disaster nearly struck when an attacking kick was jabbed into the New Zealand 22 forcing fullback Blair Murray to kick off the ground towards the sideline. Instead Murray volleyed into the hands of unmarked wing Daniel Ala who failed to secure cleanly with the line at his mercy.
The halftime score was 7-0.
The first seven minutes of the second spell was effectively a stalemate until a clamatious Aussie error proppled New Zealand 12-0 ahead. Niko Jones dabbed a kick down the sideline which clean bowled two Australians between the legs allowing Reihana to dribble forward and control over the course of 25-metres.
The Kiwis lineout was wobbly on occasions in the final 35 minutes, but secure possession and an authoritative drive made the score 19-0. Tamaiti Williams joined his fellow prop Sua on the scoresheet.
Australia showed plenty of backbone and exceptional openside Luke Reimer responded from an Aussie maul to close the gap to 19-5. The sideline conversion reduced the deficit to 19-7.
Australian replacement hooker Tyrell Kopua and second-five Joey Walton were difficult to restrain at times and a series of powerful charges created a breakthrough for substitute flanker Jeremy Williams.
New Zealand could have imploded but instead showed commendable composure and in the 66th minute Murray sealed victory on the end of an overlap, The New Plymouth Boys’ High School student had an eye catching tour despite his First XV having a modest season.
Mau appears to have a bright future and in conjunction with Tamaiti Williams ensured New Zealand had a solid platform throughout. Lock Sam Darry wasn’t flashy, but is highly efficient. Jones enjoyed some quality moments, Reihana played with poise and Gideon Wrampling was resolute in testing conditions.
New Zealand haven't lost any game since a shock 20-22 setback against Fiji Schools in 2013. Their current unbeaten streak is 16 games. The record is 22.
New Zealand Schools
1. Tamaiti Williams (St Kentigern College)
2. Soane Vikena (Mt Albert Grammar School)
3. Saula Mau (Auckland Grammar School)
4. Thomas Martin (Hamilton Boys' High School)
5. Sam Darry (Christs' College)
6. Iona Apineru (St Patrick's College - Silverstream)
7. Anton Segner (Nelson College)
8. Niko Jones (St Peter's College)
9. Taufa Funaki (Sacred Heart College, Auckland)
10. Rivez Reihana (St Kentigern College)
11. Jacob Kneepkens (Francis Douglas Memorial College)
12. Chay Fihaki (Sacred Heart College, Auckland)
13. Isaiah Punivai (St Kentigern College)
14. Gideon Wrampling (St Paul's Collegiate)
15. Blair Murray (New Plymouth Boys' High School)
16. Tyrone Thompson (Napier Boys' High School)
17. Matt Graham-Williams (St Kentigern College)
18. Patrick Thacker (Christ's College)
19. Josh Lord (Hamilton Boys' High School)
20. Simon Parker (St Peter's School)
21. Louie Chapman (Christchurch Boys' High School)
22. Zarn Sullivan (King's College)
23. Josiah Maraku (Feilding High School)
1. Angus Bell (c), Newington College
2. Billy Pollard, Barker College
3. Zane Hogan, St Edmund's College Canberra
4. Will Harris, The Scots College
5. Tom Van der Schyff, The Southport School
6. Luca Moretti, Waverley College
7. Luke Reimer, Barker College
8. Bailey Tautau, St Joseph’s Nudgee College
9. Spencer Jeans, The Southport School
10. Carter Gordon, Brisbane Boys' College
11. Brendan Jimenez, St Edmund's College Canberra
12. Joey Walton, Wadalba Community School
13. Lachlan Ilias, Trinity Grammar School
14. Daniel Ala, St Augustine’s College
15. John Connolly, The Kings School
16. Tyrell Kopua, The Southport School
17. Harry Vella, St Joseph’s Nudgee College
18. Thomas Lambert, Trinity Grammar School
19. Jeremy Williams, The Scots College
20. Cayle Manu, St Joseph’s Nudgee College
21. Seb Strang, The Scots College
22. Reesjan Pasitoa, St Joseph’s Nudgee College
23. Angus Bell, St Ignatius College
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