New Zealand Schools' team named to play Australia Schools'

NZ Schools 1566174545

The New Zealand Schools’ team is;

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 Agricultural High School)  

The team arrived in Australia last week and have won matches against Tonga Schools (54-0) and Australian Schools’ Barbarians (55-31). 

Coach Brad Mooar said all 26 players had contributed to the first two victories, making selecting a team of 23 for tomorrow’s match an incredibly tough task.

“This whole group is made up of outstanding young men so working through selections for tomorrow was not easy. Those players that missed out still play a very important in role in this team as we prepare for the match."  

Four players who started in the corresponding fixture in 2017 will again take the field tomorrow, prop Tamaiti Williams, captain and midfielder Isaiah Punivai and the halfback-first five-eighth combination of Taufa Funaki and Rivez Reihana.

“It’s critical having experience in a campaign like this. These four players have responded well to being returning players and have helped others just in the way they have gone about their jobs. 

“Taufa (Funaki) and Rivez (Reihana) have played a number of matches together in various representative teams and get on really well. Taufa is an attacking threat and brings so much energy, while Rivez has developed into an outstanding 10 that leads the team around the park with composure."  

Mooar said the key for the New Zealand Schools’ team would be to back each other and grow on the improvement they have shown in the first two matches.

“Coming into this campaign we didn’t want to over-clutter the players. We want to give them enough to see steady improvement and encourage the players to back each other and play what’s in front of them.”  

“Tomorrow is our last game together and we want deliver a performance that shows respect to not only the jersey but the opponent as well.” 

Lock Thomas Martin, loose forward Niko Jones, and backs Gideon Wrampling, Isaiah Punivani and Blair Murray will be the only players to have started all three matches during this campaign. Wrampling and Murray have shown their attacking class, scoring seven tries between them so far. 

The match will be live streamed on 

New Zealand Schools' v Australia Schools
Saturday 6 October, kick off 5pm (8pm NZT), Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane
NZ Schools 1566174545