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New Zealand Schools lose to Fiji in a cliffhanger

James Mortimer     28 Sep 2013    

St Kentigern College centre TJ Faiane captained the side in the absence of first choice skipper Mitchell Johnson, and the team, considered to be the first taste of High Performance rugby for the young men, was given a fiery introduction as to what international rugby is all about.

Fiji's own young schoolboys are now exposed to regular IRB funded training as the Pacific Islands up their age grade development - with Samoa recently having their first 'graduates' come out of their own age grade academy.

As a consequence the Fijians were up for the match, and the New Zealanders were surprised by the initial onslaught.

The New Zealand Schoolboys scored tries to Akira Ioane and Mitchell Karpik, but the Fijians scored four of their own, showing a great ability to strike when New Zealand made small mistakes.

Bryn Gatland and Damien Mckenzie shared the kicking duties for the Kiwis, and coach Russell Hilton-Jones could make changes now that the team has had their first hit out, travelling to Sydney this week after training in Christchurch.

With Fiji to also play Australia A and the Australian senior team, the New Zealand schoolboys play on Tuesday 1 October v Australia A at Knox Grammar School, followed by a blockbuster on Saturday 5 October, with New Zealand playing Australia.

The Australian Schoolboys team will look to continue the impressive standard set last year, which saw the touring side finish with a thrilling 16-14 victory over New Zealand in Auckland. This was only the second time an Australian Schoolboys side has defeated the Kiwis on New Zealand soil.