The New Zealand Residents consists of the best from the NZRL National
Men’s competition, many of whom have already achieved professional or
international rugby league success.
2020 saw the return of the New Zealand Residents team and with that, the excitement around the depth and quality of New Zealand’s grassroots talent.
New Zealand Residents vs. NZ Maori Residents
Sunday 8 November 2020
Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
A haka showdown with the support of the NZ18 players set the scene for what would be a passionate affair between the Residents and NZ Maori.
It took 14 minutes to see the opening try and it didn’t disappoint, a left edge set play finished with Residents winger Sam Fa’apito going over untouched. Captain Francis Leger converted to make it a 6-0 lead over the Maori Residents.
The Maori Residents hit back instantly as they won their own short kick-off, and off that set James Waterson latched onto a grubber in behind to score. Josiah Afu added the extra two to level up the score.
After constant pressure, Maori Resident front rower Trent Schaumakal twisted his way over the line as repeat sets proved detrimental to the Residents outfit. Josiah Afu again added the extras to take their first lead of the evening.
Number 17 Keanu Dawson made an instant impact coming on for the Residents side, as he crashed over to bridge the gap. Leger converted to level the scores again with seven remaining in the first half.
Patrick Sipley grabbed the first points, six minutes into the second stanza as he put the Residents back into the lead. Leger converted to take the score to 18-12.
A sublime kick from Sam Nati ended with some magic from Matti Tuitama putting Sam Fa’apito over for his second. Leger unable to convert as the Residents went up 22 points to 12 with just over 20 minutes to go.
Three minutes later Sam Fa’apito claimed his hat trick when he picked off a pass from Jordan Bunce and took it 90 metres to score. Leger was unable to convert Fa’apito’s scintillating effort as the score remained 26-12. All the momentum was with the NZ Residents as they looked to close the game out with 10 remaining,
However a penalty on the Residents’ line saw momentum shift as the mistake afforded an opportunity for the Maori’s and they turned it into points. Cole Waaka’s cut out ball put James Waterson over for his second of the evening. Conversion unsuccessful as the Maori side reduced the margin to 10.
James Waterson grabbed himself a hat trick of his own to pull the game within one score, Josiah Afu converted from the left side line which created a grandstand finish. 26-22 with only three minutes left in the match.
The NZ Maori then completed the stunning 14 point comeback with only six remaining. Mikaere Beattie capped off an impressive 50-metre move as he crashed over for a try right under the post, stealing the win from the NZ Residents and pulling off an impressive 28-26 upset.
Zealand Residents vs. England Community Lions
1 November 2019
The much-anticipated fixture was the closing bout
of the first-ever England Community Lions tour down under.
A spine-tingling haka and a
stand-off set the tone; however, it took 20 minutes to get the scoring underway
with the Lions claiming first points – signs this would be no easy feat for our
The NZ Residents hit straight back capitalising on an offside penalty as co-captain Francis Leger went over to give the home side their first points, making it six apiece. There were some big defensive displays by both teams throughout the half and for the majority, the two were evenly matched, however, the Kiwis gained the upper hand and steamrolled over the line in the last five to make it 12-10 at the break.
The second half saw the NZ Residents find their dominance as Simon
Luafalealo and Penitito Llalio both scored in the first ten minutes. The
English Community Lions bit back shortly after however it was Co-captain Tevin
Arona who sealed the deal scoring the final try of the match and securing the
win 28 – 12.