At an extremely hot Cornwall Park in Auckland today, both U16's and U18's Auckland Crowns teams were victorious over their Wellington counterparts in the first round of the Lion Foundation National Junior Competition. The U16's Foundation Cup was a very close encounter with Auckland holding a two point lead at half-time. Both side's big props were continually making big barging runs up the middle and setting a great platform for the nippy outside backs. Both teams were defensively very strong and the scoreboard showed 6/4 at the break. The second half saw the Auckland side begin to dominate and tries to Loose Forward, Pete Lavea, and rampaging Prop, Leo Faafaeete sealed the victory for the home side. The Wellington team scored a late consolation and the game was over at 18 points to 10. The U18's game was a replay of last year's Kiwi Cup Grand Final. The Wellington side had been victorious in that game but the tables were turned today.
Tries to Patrick Au Van, Iu Su'a and Paki Ormsby, took the Crowns out to a 16/0 lead, around 25 minutes into the game. A try to Wellington Winger, Desta Buchanan, took the half-time score to 16/4. Twenty minutes into the second half, the Auckland side began to tire. The superior fitness of the Wellington team allowed them to begin to take charge of the game. Successive converted tries locked it up at 16 all. Determined play by the southern side allowed them to work down, close to the line and hand Half Back, Michael Lealava'a an easy field goal to break the deadlock. Around four minutes left on the clock, Auckland got their second wind. A desperate push upfield saw the ball in the hands of strong Auckland winger, Nui Talau. Talau, from twenty metres out, got a sniff, barged through two lines of defence and crashed over under the posts to win the game for Auckland. Final score 22/17. Standout players for the Crowns were Front Rowers, Alex Tafili and Iu Su'a and Winger, Nui Talau. The Parramatta Eels will be pleased to know that, big centre, Josh Davies, was outstanding for the Wellington side.
Foundation Cup 16's
Auckland Crowns vs Wellington Cornwall Park, Auckland Auckland Crowns 18 Tries: Leo Faaeteete, Leeson Ah Mau, Peter Lavea Goals: Sioeli Makaui (1), Jody Henry (2)
Wellington 10 Tries: Ramond Trow, Ben Matulino Goals: Frae Wilson
Halftime Score: 6 - 4 To Auckland Crowns
Canterbury vs Auckland Sea Lions Rugby League Park, Christchurch Auckland Sea Lions 42 Tries: Roman Leolahi, Rusty Bristow (2), Ronnie Va'asa (2), Alvin Matavao (3) Goals: Maroanui Nosa (5)
Canterbury 8 Tries: Darren Tonihi, Delamar Taua
Halftime Score: 24 - 4 To Auckland Sea Lions
Kiwi Cup 18's
Auckland Crowns 22 Tries: Patrick Ah Van, Nui Talau, Paki Ormsby, Iuomalo Su'a Goals: Paki Ormsby (3)
Wellington 17 Tries: Joshua Davis, Desta Buchanan (2) Goals: Hayden Magele (2) F/Goals: Hayden Magele (1)
Halftime Score: 16 - 4 To Auckland Crowns
Canterbury vs Auckland Sea Lions Rugby League Park, Christchurch Canterbury 28 Tries: Kahu Wehi, Setaimata Sa, Antonio Tuitaupe, Setima Pua'avase, Mananui Te Heu Heu Goals: Quentin To'o To'o (4)
Auckland Sea Lions 20 Tries: Solman Foki, Sioeli Kaifoto, Miguel Start (2) Goals: Peter Oaariki (1), Maurice Ah Voa (1)
Halftime Score: 18 - 10 To Canterbury