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New Zealand Schoolboys lose to Australian counterparts

    09 Oct 2011    

Coach Andrew Douglas, speaking exclusively to allblacks.com, said that the primary reason for his team of “talented guys” going down was that their expansive game was closed by an aggressive display defensively from the Australians.

The New Zealand Schools team, captained by number eight Ardie Savea, led 13-11 at halftime, but a committed second half performance by the home team enabled them to take the lead two minutes after the break – an advantage they would never concede.

Second five-eighth Ngani Laumape, from Palmerston North Boys High School, scored New Zealand’s opening and only try of the match, but continued pressure throughout by the Australians rattled the young kiwis as the encounter progressed.

Douglas, guided his troops to a win over a Waikato selection and a compelling 53-11 victory over an Australian ‘A’ schoolboys team, but despite good lead up form, the senior Australian Schoolboys were fired up to win what was just their eight New Zealand scalp since 1978.

The New Zealand Schoolboys defeated their ‘junior Bledisloe’ rivals 30-21 in Dunedin last year, and hadn’t lost across the ditch since 2008, but with a clear intent to shut down the freewheeling kiwi attack – the men (boys!) in gold were able to toast just their third win in 13 years.

New Zealand mentor Douglas, who guided St Peter’s School to a 10-3 win over Cambridge High School to win the 2011 Waikato Secondary Schools championship earlier this year, summed up the loss succinctly.

“We’re gutted,” he said to allblacks.com

“They closed down the space and worked hard to shut us down.”

“It was a frustrating close to the game” Douglas said, pinpointing the final quarter, where a 57th minute penalty to King’s College first five-eighth Simon Hickey, was the last points New Zealand managed to put on the board.

He had predicted that Australia would be a tough nut to crack.

“We know Australia will have a score to settle and will come out hard,” “Douglas said earlier this week.

Douglas singled out captain Savea for special praise, saying that he had arguably been the best player throughout the team’s matches.

Argie used to only be known as the younger brother of Hurricanes representative and former Under-20’s star Julian, but the converted number eight (from the midfield) can boast about his own achievements now.

In Wellington he is known as Rongotai college’s head boy, and arrived at the first day of training with the secondary schools team the morning after his school ball.

A natural athlete, he started playing rugby with his brother in the under-7 grades, and could have tried his hand at any sport, running a near 11-second 100 metres, finishing third in the McEvedy Shield sprint finals, and winning the long jump.

Having represented his college’s first XV for over two years, he recently played in his 50th match for the team, having been a mainstay with the side.

Still, the narrow loss to a fired up Australian Schoolboys, captained by Brisbane State High School lock Curtis Browning, didn’t sit well with their New Zealand rivals.

“We’ll learn from this,” Douglas said.

“We focused on remembering what this felt like, so any of the guys who wear the black jersey in the future don’t forget that the losing feeling isn’t something we want to get used too.”

Douglas himself said he would love to stay involved with the setup, and was already working on sitting down with the players to perform an extensive debrief.

Before heading home from Sydney, the coach would sit down with each player and conduct their IPP (Individual Performance Plans) to continue their development.

A large part of the planning was building on the basic skills and executions the players brought into the camp, as well as furthering their understanding of the professional setup in regards to training, nutrition and ‘what to expect’ as they worked hard to wear more senior black jerseys in the years to come.

With only one South Island player in the New Zealand squad, Douglas said that typically the schoolboys from the North Island teams had increased physicality, although that evened out as they grew in rugby maturity.

AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 26

Curtis Browning, Jim Stewart, Jake McIntyre tries
Jack Debreczeni 2 penalties; Jack McIntyre penalty, conversion

NEW ZEALAND SECONDARY SCHOOLS 19

Ngani Laumape try
Simon Hickey 4 penalties, conversion)

New Zealand Schoolboys versus Australian Schoolboys ledger

Played: 28
New Zealand Won: 20
Australia Won: 8
Australia Biggest Win: 20-9, 1985.
New Zealand Biggest Win: 32-7, 1993.
Highest Aggregate: 56 (33-23, New Zealand, 2000)

New Zealand Schools team:

1. Joe Walsh
Hamilton Boys High School

2. Conan Houkamau
Gisborne Boys High School

3. Sione Mafileo
St Kentigerns

4. Scott Scrafton
St Kentigerns

5. Patrick Tuipulotu
St Peter's College Auckland

6. Joe Edwards
St Kentigerns

7. Kane Jacobson
Hamilton Boys High School

8. Ardie Savea
Rongotai College (Captain)

9. Sheridan Rangihuna
Gisborne Boys High School

10. Simon Hickey
Kings College

11. Ngataua Hukatai
Kings College

12. Ngani Laumape
Palmerston North Boys High School

13. Jason Emery,
Palmerston North Boys High School

14. Roger Tuivasa- Sheck
Otahuhu High School

15. Lolagi Visinia
Kelston Boys High School

Reserves

16. Dillan Halaholo
Mt Albert Grammar

17. Josh Davey
St Peter's Cambridge

18. Brandon Nansen
Sacred Heart College

19. Mitchell Brown
New Plymouth Boys High School

20. Calvary Fonoti
Onehunga High School

21. Ben Edwards
Feilding High School

22. Michael Collins
Otago Boys High School

23. Joe Webber
Hamilton Boys High School

24. Levi Guildford
Napier Boys High School