The Australian Schoolboys have hammered the New Zealand under 18s 40 points to 8 at the Trusts Stadium in Auckland this morning (Saturday) in the final Test of their two match tour to New Zealand, with Campbell Graham and Mawene Hiroti registering tries for their respective teams.
Graham, co-captain of the Australian side, scored his team’s first try, as did Hiroti for New Zealand in a tight first half, but a dominant performance from the Australians in the second 40 minutes gave the visitors a comfortable victory in wet and slippery conditions.
Graham, named on the wing but playing right centre, was joined in the Australian side by starting front rower Ky Rodwell who was outstanding in defence. He pulled off a crunching hit in the 11th minute of play to deny the Kiwis of a try.
Graham registered the first points of the game in the 27th minute when he called for five-eighth Tanner Boyd to grubber kick in behind the Kiwis’ line. Boyd obeyed his captain and Graham chased through, scooping up the ball and sliding over the score. Co-captain Zac Lomax converted to give the Aussies a six-nil lead.
Australian powerhouse David Fifita scored the second four-pointer of the game when Boyd put him through a hole to score, establishing a ten-point lead.
The young New Zealanders struck back in the final minute of the first half when young Rabbitohs winger Hiroti scored a stellar try, using footwork to get around Lomax before burning past fullback Dylan Smith to score in the right corner.
The Kiwis kept it up in the opening minutes of the second half with captain and halfback Dylan Tavita scoring in the 43rd minute. He took advantage of an Australian error deep in their own half, beating three defenders to score.
It was from this point that the Australians shifted up a couple of gears, with Boyd and Fifita dominating their opposition.
Boyd scored in the 49th minute, throwing a dummy and accelerating through the hole he created to race to the right hand corner. Lomax converted from out wide.
Hiroti moved to fullback due to an injury to the New Zealand number one, which only weakened the New Zealand defensive line out wide.
Fifita scored his second try in the 54th minute when it was again Boyd making the break, turning the ball inside for Fifita to score. Lomax converted from close range.
Back rower Jesse Cronin scored next from a perfect grubber kick from Boyd, Cronin touching down under the posts. Lomax kicked the easy conversion.
Boyd scored his second try in 69th minute when his lethal dummy opened up a gaping hole for him to stroll through. Lomax kicked another conversion to put the game beyond reach of the home side.
From the kick off Fifita broke the line with another bustling run and a series of offloads from players backing each other up led to centre Bronson Xerri streaking away to score. Lomax converted to give the Australians a 40-8 lead.
A tough and willing match was marred by a biting allegation against New Zealand captain Dylan Tavita in the penultimate minute of the match, but the Australians would complete a clean sweep of their matches on tour with the 32-point victory over New Zealand.
Boyd was clearly the best player on field with Fifita and Graham Australia’s most dangerous. Rodwell was very strong in defence in his first half stint, only getting limited minutes on the second half. Hiroti was one of New Zealand’s best, often getting his side out of trouble when pinned down their own end of the field, and he scored one of the nest tries of the afternoon.
All three Rabbitohs did themselves and their club proud throughout the series. Congratulations to Campbell Graham, Ky Rodwell and Mawene Hiroti on their performances for their nations.
Australian Schoolboys 40 (David Fifita 2, Tanner Boyd 2, Campbell Graham, Jesse Cronin, Bronson Xerri tries; Zac Lomas 6 goals)
New Zealand under 18s 8 (Mawene Hiroti, Dylan Tavita tries)