The New Zealand Barbarians Area Schools, in their third year under the Barbarians’ club banner, gave a resolute display before falling 43-7 to a slick Waikato Harlequins Under 18s in their annual fixture on August 29.
Played at Fred Jones Park, home of the Hamilton Old Boys club, right next to Waikato Stadium, the Area Schools started strongly with some solid carries and go-forward.
The team showed spirit in attempting to break down the Harlequins’ defence but the latterwere again a slick operation, capitalising on Barbarians mistakes and taking the lead after 15minutes. The score was 17-0 at the halftime break.
The second half saw the Harlequins step up another notch, but the Area Schools tried to hold firm. Midway through the second half, centre Roera Hartley, determined with ball in hand and with strong leg drive, carried the ball over the tryline for the first and only try for the Area Schools, converted by second five Jayden Tegg.
The squad had a hitout two days beforehand against a strong Hamilton Boys’ High School XV after Thames Valley Under 18s were a late withdrawal from a planned practice match. The clash was an invaluable exercise and the boys were exposed to some high quality schools footy.
Barbarians President Bryan ‘Beegee’ Williams presented the team with their scarlet Barbarians jerseys prior to the big game on Saturday.
Captain of the 2015 NZ Barbarians Area Schools was Fabyan Kahaki from East Coast’s Ngata Memorial College, and vice-captain was Manaia Nyman, also of the East Coast, from Te Whanau Apanui.
The team and management, along with the NZ Barbarians Area Schools, wish to sincerely thank Bob Telfer, departing head coach and new Barbarians member, who took the NZ Area Schools from 2000-2012, and the NZ Barbarians Area Schools rugby from 2013-15. Bob’s continued support and coaching contribution to NZ Area Schools rugby will be missed.
*The Area Schools are chosen from the top players in some of the smaller, often rural areas of New Zealand, who do not get the chance to play in the top, higher profile First XV competitions.
This side was chosen out of a national July tournament in Whanganui, won by Central Area Schools. It was fitting, therefore, that there were 10 players chosen out of the central region, including no less than five from the East Coast. There were plenty of hidden gems in this group. Ones to watch were hooker Raniera Whakataka, wing James Williams, who has already been to a Chiefs Under 18 camp, halfback Jordan Wallden, who has represented Counties Manukau at age grade level, utility back Rayven Son Betham Ngapo, and speedy wing ‘Bruno’ Vitata, who is of Papua New Guinea background.
Six were returning from the 2014 side, keen to reverse the 68-0 drubbing at the hands of a slick Harlequins. But the Area Schools did win the fixture 12-6 in 2013, their first win in several seasons. They had just five days together, so the challenge was, as ever, gelling them swiftly.
The Barbarians club sponsor the team, having succeeded the NZ Rugby Foundation in 2013.
August 29 (Fred Jones Park, Hamilton): Waikato Harlequins U17 43beat NZ Barbarians Area Schools 7(Hartley try; Tegg con) Halftime: 17-0 Harlequins
The full squad was:
Cyrus Broughton (Taipa Area School, Northland)
Ilai Arona (Abundant Christian Life School, Northland)
Jordan Wallden (Onewhero Area School, Counties Manukau)
Reiki Ruawai (Raglan Area School, Waikato)
Rayven Son Betham Ngapo (Manaia Area School, Thames Valley)
Rhys Middleton (Whangamata Area School, Thames Valley)
Jayden Tegg (Mercury Bay Area School, Thames Valley)
Stormi Jones (Mercury Bay Area School, Thames Valley)
Teina Kirikiri (Ngata Memorial College, East Coast)
Fabyan Kahaki (Ngata Memorial College, East Coast, c)
Charles Ngamoki (Te Whanau Apanui, East Coast)
Manaia Nyman (Te Whanau Apanui, East Coast)
Raniera Whakataka (Uawa/Tolaga Bay Area School, East Coast)
Roera Hartley (Tongariro Area School, King Country)
James Williams (Tongariro Area School, King Country)
Eliuda ‘Bruno’ Vitata (Taihape Area School, Wanganui)
Anthony Hansen (Taihape Area School, Wanganui)
Jachai Graham (Patea Area School, Taranaki)
Jonathan Nikolaison (Cheviot Area School, Canterbury)
Marcus White (Hurunui Area School, Canterbury)
Jonty McKinnel (Roxburgh Area School, Otago)
*Original selection Luke Cunningham of Mercury Bay Area School was replaced at lock by Mitchell Davies-Savage of Coromandel Area School.
Coach: Bob Telfer
Assistant coach: Justin Marsh
Manager: Mike Smith