Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The English U18 Acadamy side bult up a solid lead before beating the Junior Kiwis 22-20 in an age group rugby league international at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday.
The visitors led 14-0 at the break but needed a late try to snatch victory after finding themselves behind 14-20.
The Junior Kiwis were bigger, more powerful and more physical but the English played as a team while the home side relied on individual performances.
England enjoyed a wealth of possession, troubled the Junior Kiwis with the accuracy of their kicking game and kept them pinned back for long periods.
The home side's defence held up well for most of the first half, but the pressure told on three occasions after a line bust by English fullback Lee Smith and again following good support play from halfback James Coyne.
The English scored their third try shortly before the interval after a sprint down the left flank by wing David Doherty.
The Junior Kiwis lifted themselves after the break and used a following wind intelligently to force three consecutive goal-line dropouts.
They scored off the last two of those through big barging runs by Sonny Fa'I and then Sam Moa.
New Zealand Warriors development player Frank-Paul Nuuausala dived under the defence from dummy-half for his team's third try and the Junior Kiwis found themselves ahead 16-14 with 20 minutes remaining.
Viliami Manu then finished off good support work following an 80m break to stretch their advantage.
They reached the tryline again but couldn't get the ball down, but would not be denied as Doherty secured the result after scampering down the left flank for his second try.
AdvertisementAdvertisementThe teams meet again at the same venue next Sunday.