17s National Youth Tournament Final
Puketawhero Park, Rotorua
Akarana 30 Counties 26
Applying early pressure on attack must have been the game plan for Akarana who sent a strong message to their opposition from the get go.
A cross field kick from Akarana had their no.2 winger Asoleilei score in the left corner in the first few minutes, a tricky conversion scored by their half to take the score to 6-0 in the opening minutes.
The classy stepping game of Counties’ Paea Fotu had him dodge three players from Akarana on his way to the left hand corner where he levelled the scoreboard after another difficult conversion, this time from the South Aucklanders.
With increasing momentum, the boys in red were back near the try-line, a slick offload sending Counties across the line again for their second four pointer – score 10-6.
Then came another beauty cross field kick from Akarana which sat up just in time for their winger to score in a similar fashion to his first of the match, a successful conversion sending Akarana out to a 12-10 lead.
Counties replied with a try of their own under the posts minutes later regaining the lead with the scoreboard reading 16-12. That was backed up by another try shortly after as the teams headed into halftime, Counties up 22-12.
The second half started much like the first, with a bit of Akarana flare in the shape of two tries in several minutes successfully converted to put the boys in blue out in front, 24-22.
A kick chase from Akarana had spectators on the edge of their seats, catching Counties off guard slapping another six points on the scoreboard after yet another successful conversion, 30-22.
The exemplary defence of Akarana was held on their own line for almost eight minutes before Counties’ countless attempts at crossing the line were shut down.
Counties were then faced with a ‘must score’ set in the dying minutes of the game which they delivered on scoring in the right hand corner, score 30-26. One final miracle was needed if they were going to score in the final minute to overtake Akarana. But back-to-back title wins were not to be for Counties, Akarana enjoying a sweet 30-26 victory taking home the 2018 17s National Youth Tournament title.
Man of the Match – Jyris Glamuzina
Aso FRETTON AKARANA
Naufahu WHYTE AKARANA
TJ DEVERY AKARANA
Jyris GLAMUZINA AKARANA
Moala GRAHAM-TAUFA AKARANA
Tyson CHASE CENTRAL
Semisi SIKEI COUNTIES
Sione MOALA COUNTIES
Feao TONGIA COUNTIES
Paea FOTU COUNTIES
Caius FA’ATILI SOUTHERN
Griffen NEAME SOUTHERN
Okustino LUI VULCANS
Konrad TU’UA VULCANS
Sean FIELD WAI-COA-BAY
Maui WALLACE WELLINGTON
Dallas McEWAN WELLINGTON
Akarana 30 Counties 22
Southern 16 Auckland Vulcans 26
Wellington 14 Wai-Coa-Bay 25
Central 26 Northern 14