New Zealand A took on NSW Country yesterday afternoon at Albany in Auckland and showed the value of the Bartercard Cup competition when they defeated the visiting Australian side by 36-18.
Steve Buckingham who was named man of the match showed his true worth as a captain as he steered his side superbly around the field allowing the big men plenty of room to make their mark, and helping to set up five of his side's six tries.
The two tries the visitors scored in the first half both came about when the NSW side were finally able to make inroads into their own half. The halftime score of 18-12 complimenting the visitors as the NZ A side had the weight of possession in the half.
Dynamic Canterbury Bulls interchange player Chris Newton showed his worth from the bench as he scored two tries, one just before the break and one midway through the second half after a great ball from Buckingham.
An entertaining match from both the sides however the NZ A side put in a polished performance and never looked threatened.
The NSW Country side head back to Australia with just one win for NSW Country over Auckland. The experience of the national U18 champions, the Wellington U18's absolutely demolished the NSW U18's by 52-4 after a handy lead of 22-4 at halftime.
NEW ZEALAND 'A' vs NSW COUNTRY North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
NEW ZEALAND 'A' 36 Rowan Baxter, Andrew Auimatagi, Chris Newton (2), Paul Fisi'iahi (2) : Tries Steve Buckingham (6) : Goals
NSW COUNTRY 18 Darren Jackson, Phil Stonham, Damian Seears : Tries Adam Blake (3) : Goals
Halftime Score : 18 - 12 To New Zealand 'A'
Curtain Raiser Match
WELLINGTON 18's vs NSW COUNTRY 18's
WELLINGTON 18's 52 Viliami Manu, Arona Tauwara, Simon Mannering, Wiremu Weepu, Manu Weepu, Joshua Davis (2), Joseph Parekura (3) : Tries Tuwharetoa Whakatihi-Paikea (1), John Te Reo (2), Hayden Magele (3) : Goals
NSW COUNTRY 18's 4 Chad Nealson : Tries
Halftime Score : 22 - 4 To Wellington 18's