A last minute 80-metre try to Christchurch Boys’ High School first five-eighth Josh McKay has given the New Zealand Secondary Schools team a hard-earned 20-18 win over a determined and physical New Zealand Barbarians Schools team in their match today in Palmerston North.
The opening 20 minutes of the contest saw both sides struggle with their handling and cohesion and with a strong southerly breeze that was whipping through Palmerston North Boys’ High School.
The first points were scored by Fielding High School halfback Thomas Stewart who kicked a penalty for the Barbarians. He was also to miss two other shots in the first half. The first try of the match was scored by Kelston Boys’ High School right wing three-quarter TJ Vaega after a long period of pressure and scrums inside the Barbarians’ 22. This put the NZ Schools team ahead 5-3 at halftime.
The second half saw Barbarians prop Sione Asi throw a pass to his Otago Boys’ High School fullback and school teammate Joshua Buchan and the latter ran 20 metres to score for the New Zealand Schools to make it 10-3.
The Barbarians, now playing into the wind, kept it tight and rumbled the ball through their forwards and their hooker Samasoni Taukei’aho from St Paul’s Collegiate, barged over for a try to make it 10-10.
Both sides kicked penalties to advance the score to 13-13 – then the Barbarians took a shock lead when Auckland Grammar School right wing Freedom Vaha’akolo finished off a good period of teamwork to score a try.
McKay saved the day for the New Zealand Schools side by scoring his match-winning try on fulltime.
Other players to standout included Rosmini College lock Jacob Pierce and Takapuna Grammar School second five-eighth James Little for the Barbarians and Palmerston North local and blindside flanker Liam Giltrap and fullback Buchan and wing TJ Vaegafor NZ Schools.
Scores: New Zealand Secondary Schools 20 (TJ Vaega, Joshua Buchan, Joshua McKay tries; Wiseguy Faiane pen, con) beat the New Zealand Barbarians 18 (Samasoni Taukei’aho, Freedom Vaha’akolo tries; Thomas Stewart con, pen; Tiaan Falcon pen). Halftime 5-3.
Photo Credit - Massey University RFC
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