Northland Dev and Under 19s
A penalty kicked from Auckland B skipper five Harry Miller after time was up from 40 metres out was enough take victory against a determined Northland Development rugby team played at Orakei Domain in Auckland on Saturday
Northland can feel a little hard done by after after battling back on a couple of occasions after being down 3-12 after after 25 minutes ,the Taniwha rallied before halftime scoring 2 x tries in five minutes , the first coming after Northland 2nd five Adam Shepherd latched on to a loose ball toed it ahead only to be taken out by a retreating Auckland player before having the opportunity to touch down, the official had no hesitation but to award the penalty try.
A few minutes later after some great passing down the left flank,Waipu outside back Tavite Gadeisuva was released outside his marker ,put an accurately placed inside kick which was picked up by a Northland player and the final pass ending up in the hands of workaholic flanker Sam McNamara who touched beside the posts, the try was converted and unbelievably the Taniwha were leading 17-12 against a star studded Auckland B team that featured at least 3 x players that had played super rugby along with NZ under 20 players Adrian Choat, Waimana Reidlinger Kapa and former NZ secondary schools lock John Akauola.Not to mention big NZ sevens winger Joe Ravouvou who was a handful every time he touched the ball.
Auckland dominated possession in the first 20 minutes of the 2nd half with their big pack starting to operate with good effect, in that time Northland will be a little disappointed with some of their one on one tackles ,as 2 very soft tries were scored close to the posts, and with both tries being converted ,Auckland at that stage of the game looked they would finish over the top of the visitors
But no one told this Northland team that ,there is a lot to be said about staying in the fight no matter
what the size or the caliber of the opposition.
Some changes made by head coach Graham Dewes seemed to have immediate effect with the replacements adding some much needed energy, replacement Dan Wells scored a good a try after some long phases of attack were put together, the try was unconverted and once again the score was 26-22,Auckland were next score when Miller kicked a penalty to extend the lead to 29-22 which I thought at the time was a real mark of respect for the visitors.
With time running out Northland replacement hooker Micheal Lea touched down on the left flank after some superb inter passing, the hooker showed great pace finishing off the try in the corner.
Blundell landed the conversion from out wide, and the teams were locked at 29 all with a couple minutes to play,
Credit to Northland,in trying to find the winner after the clock had elapsed ,they infringed unfortunately and up stepped Miller who calmly steered the kick between the sticks.
Final Score Auckland 32 Northland 29
The outstanding player for Northland was Sam McNamara,who was not only everywhere, but was also a very consistent source at line out time.
McNamara combined well with Jarod Byrnes and Aorangi Stokes who was full of aggression especially against the big Auckland ball runners.
Boyd Wiggins got through a ton of work and big lock Francois Marius secured some good ball at lineout time .
In the backs Mac Sykes did well having to deal with some untidy ball , and getting across to take a flying AJ Lam as he was heading to the corner,
Gadeisuva whenever he had ball was dangerous especially when given space
I was highly impressed with the Kerikeri midfielders Adam Shepard and Mitchell Miller,Shepherd especially who got through a ton of work.
Must also mention Alex Gale,the big tighthead from Kamo,made a massive difference at scrumtime when came on with 25 minutes to go.
In the earlier game ,the Northland under 19s went down to their Auckland counter parts by
50-3 after being down by 19-3 at halftime
The final score did not tell a true story of the effort that the Northland lads put in,
After 28 minutes they trailed only 5-3 and had actually dominated field position and ball for long periods on to turn ball over and see Auckland score 2 x tries before the half.
Auckland continued to dominate in the 2nd half and with so much ball and their scrum and lineout set piece on top they slowly but surely ground the Northland team down.
Their were a couple of superb individual efforts,especially from skipper and number 8 Thomas Anderson who carried impressively and along with fellow loose forward Gil Caan Vaana who put in some big hits against some sizeable ball runners .
A tough afternoon for the backs, but first five Royce Sanderson looks a player of real promise.
All in all a tough day at the office for the under 19s,but I am sure they will be better for the hit out against a big physical team.
@taniwharugby not to mention talking to their coach,some players have got 4 hour round trip just to get to training,was just the sheer size of the Auckland players,it was a shame because the 2 midfielders looked really good when they had ball,Keanu Cook Savage the 2nd five looks a real line breaker.rangy and powerful,
young Jayden Leaupepe from Kamo at fullback looked good as well.
@chiefy07 he’s definitely got an engine,he stood out like a sore thumb in the Dev game,i reckon Whitcombe is going to have to use him at some stage,he’s bigger body than all 5 of the loose forwards we used in the Harbour game and is a great lineout option.
The Northland Development squad will be extremely disappointed not to get their 2018 off to a winning note after conceding a late try to Counties Manukau Development with 8 minutes left on the clock which was enough to see the visitors home 30-27 yesterday as the curtain raiser to the Northland v Auckland Mitre 10 Cup main game.
The visitors scored 4 x tries,2 in each half, the rest of the points coming by way of the boot.
The home side as they did last week against Auckland started slowly ,conceding an early penalty along with a yellow card which handed Counties Manukau an advantage that they capitalised on using their big ballers and scoring close to the posts in the 12th minute and converting.
By the time Northland were restored to their full XV,Counties Manukau were now dominating territory and possession ,they added with another converted try on the 22nd minute mark to push the lead to 17-0
The return of Kamo tight head Alex Dale with his powerful scrummaging suddenly gave Northland some much needed momentum and ball on the back of a couple scrum penalties, not to mention much needed field position
It was during this 10 minute before halftime that Northland enjoyed their best period of the match , Renata Roberts-Tenana who has just returned from injury and is part of the Northland Mitre 10 Cup squad ripped Counties Manukau apart with a brilliant 30 metre scything run which left all the defenders grasping at thin air.
4 minutes later,Tim Blundell touched down after finishing a Wiseguy Fiaane break, and just for good measure Noah Cooper touched down right on the stroke of halftime, after some great lead up work by backs and forwards.
Within 9 minutes Northland had taken the lead and went to halftime 21-17 ahead.
Unfortunately Northland were to only add 2 more penalties off the boot of Faaine before he left the field with an injury, and a Blundell penalty which gave Northland the lead with 10 to go.
Counties Manukau picked up tries in the 21st and 31st minutes along with a penalty in the 25 minute.
Northland showed plenty of determination to try and pick up the winning try ,but were let down with handling errors and line out issues.
Once again the 2 x tries scored by Counties Manukau in the 2nd half will disappoint the coaching staff the most as crucial one on one tackles were missed, along with some discipline issues in and around breakdown, although I will say the North Harbour official did not endear himself with several decisions that Northland were on the wrong of.
For Northland I thought Renata Roberts-Tenana looked very sharp given he had been away with injury and looked our most dangerous back,Gadeisuva also looked good with the limited ball he had
Faaine at first five had his moments with 2 very good breaks, one that lead to the Blundell try
Mac Sykes continues to impress with his energy at halfback and once again played a strong game.
In the forwards,I thought Boyd Wiggins was great value around the paddock and never stopped trying,Alex Gale although spending some time off the field was a presence at scrum time.
All 3 loose forwards Sam McNamara,O’Neal Rongo and Jared Byrnes all worked hard.
And a very lively game around the paddock from Ben Tou.
A couple of close losses which will frustrate the coaches and the players themselves.
Northland Taniwha Development fought their way back from 18-7 down at halftime only to come up short 23-21 after fighting back in the 2nd half in a hard fought encounter against Taranaki Development played at Te Awamutu Rugby Sports & Recreation Club this afternoon.
Head coach Graham Dewes was pleased with the comeback but disappointed like the 2 previous close defeats they were not able to close out the game after having the better of the 2nd half,Northland looked likely to pull off the win in the final play only to concede a penalty to the delight of the Taranaki players.
Northland came into the game having to do without one of their stronger performers, loose forward Sam McNamara and big Fijian lock Temo Mayavananua who had both been called up into the Northland Mitre 10 Cup lineup for the clash against Taranaki
Taranaki started the game strongly with their backs proving difficult to contain getting on the outside of Northlands compressed defence and creating chances which they took, building an 18-8 halftime lead.
Northland were forced into a couple of changes at the break with wing Tavite Gadeisuva who went into the game with an injury having to sit the 2nd half out.
Mac Sykes who once again was outstanding at halfback showed his versatility by moving into the vacated wing and continued to impress in the unfamiliar position.
Wiseguy Fiaane and Emile Pittman who both entered the fray after the break also added much needed energy and spark.
Skipper Aorangi Stokes played with his normal aggression and lead by example and Ranata Roberts TeNana was a constant danger with his speed and footwork given the limited ball he had.
Northland added 2 more tries in the 2nd half to hard working lock Lucas Albornoz and fullback Noah Cooper which set up a grandstand finish.
My apologies for the biased slant of this report ,but I wrote it for the Northland Rugby Union website
Northland Under 19 (24)Auckland Under 19 Development (20)
It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog could easily have been one of the catch cries that was written on the changing sheds at the Northland Events Centre when Northland under 19s created there own piece of history by beating an Auckland Under 19 Development team for the very first time in a seeding round prior to the National Under 19 tournament
When playing Auckland age group teams staying in the fight is always a key point no matter the pedigree or the size of the opposition,and on that level Northland took the fight to their more illustrious and sizeable opponents who were expected to be too strong after going down to the top Auckland Under 19 side by one point the previous week.
Auckland started the game strongly scoring 3 unconverted tries in the opening 20 minutes and looked like they were capable of scoring more tries whenever they had ball.
However Northland worked out if they held on to possession for long periods they would create some scoring opportunities, the indiscipline of the Auckland team who kept giving away penalties within kicking distance to which promising player and goal kicker Nikau Graham from Kerikeri gladly accepted stepping up and nailing 5 penalties to keep Northland in the hunt at halftime going in at 15 all.
Auckland once again started the 2nd half strongly scoring their 4th try,but once again the try was unconverted.
Northland who were lead by skipper Sadius Cook Savage at no 8 and with halfback Wil Grant and first five Royce Sanderson playing to a solid game plan into wind they eventually got themselves in to field position forcing Auckland to infringe within kicking range
Graham stepped up again nailing another 3 penalties in the second half to set up a frantic and pulsating last five minutes
Northland held on to take the victory over Auckland 24-20 and the joy at end when the referee blew the final whistle from players and coaching staff was palpable
The Northland forward pack deserved a ton credit for standing up to a very big Auckland pack at breakdown and at scrumtime where they held their own ,something that head coach Mark Kapa and his assistants Tui Raeli and former Northland prop Bronson Murray will be extremely proud of.
It’s always hard to single out one particular player , but Nikau Graham returning from injury in his first start in a seeding game for 2018 landing 8 penalties out of 9 attempts in breezy conditions would be a real contender for player of the day.
A very good win for the Northland Under 19s which will give them plenty of confidence going into the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 Tournament in Taupo next Sunday 9th September 2018.