Steady start at youth nationals
Favoured contenders Akarana and Counties Manukau have safely negotiated the opening day of play at the NZRL National Youth Tournament in Rotorua.
Akarana Falcons entered the competition as titleholders in 15s and 17s age groups, having defeated the Stingrays in both 2015 finals.
The younger Falcons side began the defence of their crown with a comfortable 16-4 result over Wai-Coa-Bay Colts, but the 17s were even more convincing, running out 70-14 winners over the local team .
Ahead just 18-14 at half-time, the Aucklanders piled on 52 unanswered points over the closing half hour. Wing Matthew Timoko crossed for three tries, while five-eighth Regan McClennan kicked 11 of 12 conversions.
Counties Manukau also emerged unscathed through their opening encounters. Lock Fangupo-Paea Fotu piled on two tries and three goals in a 30-14 win over Central Vipers in 15s play.
In the older grade, second row Phillip Makatoa had a hat-trick of tries, as the Stingrays overran Wellington Orcas 48-10, out-scoring their opponents 30-0 over the second half.
The first mild upset of the week came when Northern Swords 17s edged Auckland Vulcans 22-18, with half Levita Levita contributing a try and three goals. Ultimately, those successful kicks were the difference between two sides that both scored four tries.
In other highlights:
- Maui Wallace scored three tries for Wellington Orcas 15s in a 26-22 win over South Island Scorpions in the tournament opener
- Auckland Vulcans kept Northern Swords scoreless in a 36-0 romp, with Jeremiah Schuster scoring a hat-trick of tries
Tomorrow’s feature games will see Akarana Falcons face Wellington Orcas in a battle of winning 15s sides, while Counties Manukau take on Northern Swords, both day-one victors in the 17s.
NZRL NATIONAL YOUTH TOURNAMENT
Puketawhero Park, Rotorua
Monday, September 26
Wellington Orcas 26 (Maui Wallace 3 & Ilai Tuai tries; Keelan Ng 3 & Teui Robati 2 goals) South Island Scorpions 22 (Salio Tafaese, Jordan Coleman, Caius Faatili & Nuni Filiai tries; Manaia Edwards-Aumua 3 goals)
Counties Manukau Stingrays 30 (Fangupo-Paea 2, Fred Taamaletoa, Marco Talagi, Kaya Cuthers & Amon Dean tries; Fotu 3 goals) Central Vipers 14 (Brandon Puru & Tiaho Hamahona-Taiaroa tries; Brooklyn Herewini 3 goals)
Akarana Falcons 16 (Samuel Kamu, Temple Kalepo & Christian Tuipolotu tries; Kamu 2 goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Colts 4 (Zach Ririnui try)
Auckland Vulcans 36 (Jeremiah Schuster 3, Daylen Meredith 2, Soaki Taufa, Viliami Finau & Zyphior Popata tries; Sione Moala 2 goals) Northern Swords 0
Northern Swords 22 (Diani Timms, Owen Shanks, Levita Levita & Hoani Rogers-Brown tries; Levita 3 goals) Auckland Vulcans 18 (Antonio Poua 2, Zalmon Meti-Mata’u & Nathaniel Law tries; Kenshin Tsutsui goal)
South Island Scorpions 32 (Cruz Topai-Aveai 2, Tahemaka Nui, Chanel Feala, Jordan Leigh & Darcy Moore tries; Jope Tagicakibau 3 & Brad Campbell goals) Central Vipers 24 (Jonthan Fidow 2, Saiasi & Emil Vella tries; Jahlon Governor 4 goals)
Counties Manukau Stingrays 48 (Phillip Makatoa 3, Alfred Smalley 2, Joshua Gray, Kayleb Milne, Taylor Fiu & Nofoasa Malutoa tries; Etene Nanai Seturo 6 goals) Wellington Orcas 10 (Daniel Mihaere & Nevada Koro tries; Te Aorere Wanoa goal)
Tuesday, September 27
11.30am – Akarana Falcons v Wellington Orcas
12.45pm – Auckland Vulcans v Central Vipers
1.30pm – Wai-Coa-Bay Colts v South Island Scorpions
2.45pm – Counties Manukau Stingrays v Northern Swords
Noon – Counties Manukau Stingrays v Northern Swords
1.20pm – Auckland Vulcans v Wellington Orcas
2pm – Akarana Falcons v Central Vipers
3.20pm – Wai-Coa-Bay Colts v South Island Scorpions
(Main photo: Wai-Coa-Bay v Akarana. Credit: Gerhard Egger).