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A clean sweep proved elusive for the NZ Residents 18s when they played their second match against the Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League (ASSRL) team this afternoon at Bruce Pulman Park. After the young New Zealanders 28 - 26 win last Sunday, the large crowd that turned out hoped to see the young guns make it two nil, but it wasn't to be with the Australians proving too strong and running out 40 points to 16 winners.
After lining up for anthems and a rousing haka, the match kicked off in good conditions. The young Kiwis started strongly, they made some great runs putting the Australians under pressure. Unfortunately a final forward pass saw the New Zealanders first try called back.
The Australians turned this to their advantage, with the Australian number 9, Luke Vescio attacking the NZ line and nearly crossing before being pushed back. A quick play of the ball saw Curtis Sironen, son of Australian great Paul Sironen, dive across for the first try of the match. This was converted by their Number 11 Sam Harrold and the score was 6 - nil to ASSRL.
Not to be outdone the New Zealanders ran hard and Trent Bishop (Counties Manukau Stingrays) scored a try in the corner, which went unconverted, 6-4.
From there however it was largely one way traffic with the big Australian forwards, most notably Jake Trbojevic and David Klemmer proving difficult to put down, both managing a number of tackle breaks, line busts and offloads which gave their team momentum. Tries to Kane Elgey, George Jennings, Matui Fukofuka, Jake Trbojevic and a conversion took the Australians to 24 - 4 at half time.
In the second half the New Zealanders came out fighting and making great use of the wind kicked the ball through the line and when the Australians missed it, Viliami Lolohea was on hand to drop on it for the try.
The next four tries went to the Australians and all but took the game out of reach, before the Residents fought back scoring twice before the Australians rounded out their win with a final try.
Tony Kemp, NZRL Football Manager said