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New Zealand Secondary Schools defeat Samoa

Cameron Packer     30 Sep 2012    

The game was played in erratic conditions with sunlight eventually turning to a dark depressing rain.

Despite this, the New Zealand was able to dominate from the very beginning. They were physically and technically too much for the Samoans too handle who had to scramble on defence and offence throughout the game.

The New Zealand forwards were dominant as they secured supremacy at the contact area which seemed to anger the normally more physical Samoans. With the aggressive nature of the likes of Tom McHugh, and So’otala Fa’aso’o the Samoans were never really comfortable.

This was most evident at the start of the game where in their own territory; Samoa inexcusably went to sleep after committing a penalty allowing the New Zealand side to take a quick tap and exploit the simple overlap on the left side for one of the easier tries of Sinclair Dominikovich-Murray’s young rugby career. But the offense was much worse with the side being unable build any momentum and being continuously on the back foot through their hesitation and the consistent line-speed of the home side.

With these problems by the Samoans, the New Zealanders had a luxury of possession and the skilled backs more than made up for it. Outside backs such as Trinity Spooner-Neera and Matt Vaega were simply too skilled and aware for their counter parts. They were able to show distribution skills that should help them tremendously in their pursuit of becoming professional rugby players. Vaega was particularly in fine form in this regard as his ability to identify where his teammates were, helped break the line numerous times for devastating damage.

This was exhibited in the first try of the game where Aso took an excellent angle off the one two cut, to break the line and in the process of being tackled, gave his centre partner, Vaega a perfect offload to score underneath the posts.

With this initial break through by the New Zealand Schools, the Samoans began to leak points. Tries to Neera, Pole, Hooper, Cleaver, Booth and Callander all came in the space of thirty minutes.

After this burst, the weather, a sympathetic nature began opening it’s clouds with a light rain. This seemed to change the adrenaline of the game as the New Zealand side cooled off and allowed their defense to dominate. At this point in time the Samoans showed frustration which eventuated in a sin bin to the reserve halfback for a high shot on one of the New Zealand players by referee Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri.

Being one up allowed the New Zealand team to cruise to an convincing victory.

The type of form displayed by the New Zealand team is a welcoming feeling for this side “It was definitely good to win the first test” says Nigel Hotham Coach of New Zealand Schools. After losing to the Waikato Under-20s side it is reassuring for the team that playing such a challenging side first up, worked for the National side. The type of flair and skill displayed should give the team a huge confidence boost.

In contrast, the Australian Schools team lost the curtain raiser to the New Zealand barbarian’s side, a game in which the Australian’s forwards were an unable to compete with physicality of the New Zealand “B” side.

This difficulty will only be extended next week in the Bledisloe clash where the national side with the likes of McHugh, Fa’aso’o and Pole will be licking their chops at the dominance they could extend to next week’s encounter. This main event will be intense one with the New Zealand side looking for revenge after last year’s 26-19 loss in Australia. With the sort of performance that the New Zealand side just exhibited the chance in that happening looks more promising by the minute.

New Zealand Secondary Schools: 59 (M Veaga, S Dominikovich-Murray, B Hooper, T Spooner-Neera, E Sului, T Cleaver, J Booth, T Callander, T Li, B Hooper 5 con)

Samoan Secondary Schools: 3 (K Luatimu pen)