Varsities named for South Is clash

21 October 2014

NZ Univerities coach Kenny O'Brien has chosen a team of good youth and experience from more than 60 nominations to play the South Island as a curtainraiser to the Kiwis v England Four Nations test next month.

"In the end, he has chosen an exciting young team," says NZ Universities Tertiary Students Rugby League Council chairman Rodney Moore.

The team includes four players - Dexter Buchanan, Marrin Haggie, Denzil Hokianga and Nicholas Read - who went to England last year as part of the New Zealand Student World Cup side.

The remaining 14 players will all be making their New Zealand Universities & Tertiary Students representative debut from eight different university and tertiary institutions, including six from the Auckland University of Technology.

Moore says the game is especially significant for the team, given that Dunedin is the spiritual home of student league in New Zealand, where the first university club was formed 60 years ago, along with being the city where the first ever New Zealand Universities side played in 1967.

The team captain will be named when the team assembles in Dunedin on November 6.

The squad in alphabetical surname order is:

Name Institution
Chaz Brown Auckland University of Technology
Dexter Buchanan University of Otago
Marrin Haggie Waikato Institute of Technology
Tumoana Halkyard New Zealand Institute of Sport
Denzil Hokianga Wellington Institute of Technology
Theo Lalakai Auckland University of Technology
Isaac Misky University of Otago
Jordon Norton Auckland University of Technology
Nicholas Read Waikato Institute of Technology
David Saumolia Wellington Institute of Technology
Solomona Sio Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation
Elifasa Sopi Auckland University of Technology
Tyrone Tangata-Makiri Auckland University of Technology
Uta Toea'ana Auckland University of Technology
Ken Tofilau University of Canterbury
Manu Weepu Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
Jason Whareaitu University of Waikato

Coach: Kenny O'Brien (Wellington)
Manager: David Marsh (Auckland)
Event manager: Marama Puketapu (Wellington)
Trainer: Johnny Herewini (Dunedin)

In the news - No panic for Kiwis

20 October 2014

David Long, Stuff

There's none of that panicking around the Kiwis camp this week that's usually there before a big game in Australia.

For the Anzac test each April, Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney has to cram in as much as he can in the two training sessions he gets, but with a longer lead-in time, the team have settled in well on the Gold Coast in preparation for Sunday's test against the Kangaroos in Brisbane.

So much so that, after a strenuous 100-minute training session yesterday, they boys were let off the leash to try out the rides at the Dreamworld theme park with the 19-year-old sensation Dallin Watene-Zelezniak the keenest to try out the stomach churning ride, the Claw.

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Learn more about the NZ Kiwis' Four Nations campaign at #goodstuff


Canterbury Bulls take premiership

18 October 2014

Canterbury Bulls have scored a seven try to two over the Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions in the Pirtex National Premiership final at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Bulls eventually won the game 40-8, but it wasn't as easy as most first thought and Wai-Coa-Bay battled strongly in testing conditions.

There had been plenty of contention over who should be in the final before kick-off, with the Bulls strong favourites for the title and showing why in the first 20 minutes of the game.

In torrential rain, the Bulls scored first through Erwin Sauni, followed by Toi Sepuloni and then Bruce Havea for an 18-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Showing strong resolve, Isaac Robinson replied for Wai-Coa-Bay in the corner to signal his side was in the game.

Canterbury came back with a try through some good hands to Ken Tofilau, converted by Sepuloni for a 24-4 lead.

Not to be outdone, the Stallions came back for an unconverted try to John Koko, via a nice darting run and a dummy.

That was the end of the first half, and it, no doubt, gave the Bulls a big scare and the Stallions plenty of pride.

The second spell saw another try to Sepuloni and also to talented teen Cyrus Timo-Latu. Sepuloni converted them all for six in a row.

He couldn't quite convert the seventh try, scored by Manu Weepu in the 64th minute, but he had a game that was worthy of the praise from coach Darrell Coad.

"Sepuloni has done a lot of work off the field and outside of normal practice hours, and it shows today," said the first-time Canterbury coach.

"We started well, but dropped intensity near the end of the first half. All-in-all, I'm really happy with the completion rate, and so happy for the boys and for me too.

"League is in my blood and I'm so happy with the win."



Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

Saturday, October 18

Canterbury Bulls 40 (Toi Sepuloni 2, Manu Weepu, Cyrus Timo-Latu, Ken Tofilau, Erwin Sauni & Bruce Havea tries; Sepuloni 6 goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 8 (Isaac Robinson & John Koko tries); HT: 24-8

Nailbiting win to Junior Kiwis

18 October 2014

The Junior Kiwis showed great resolve in their annual showdown with the Junior Kangaroos, coming out on top 15-14 in an absolute nail-biter at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium.

Right from the start, the stage was set for a classic trans-Tasman tussle, as both sides stood eyeball-to-eyeball during the traditional pre-game haka.

Despite the cold, greasy spring conditions, it took barely five minutes for the Junior Kangaroos to open their account. Ex-Junior Kiwi Valentine Holmes powered over the line to set his team-mate Clint Gutherson up for the conversion.

Just over 15 minutes later, a gaping overlap allowed Watson Heleta room to find the in-goal area for New Zealand, but Zach Dockar-Clay's conversion attempt went just to the side.

The burst of enthusiasm was kept alive, when Chance Peni lunged for the right corner and scored a desperate try.

Five minutes into the second half, it appeared the wind had left the sails of several players - not so for Kiwi fullback Kodi Nikorima, who sprinted to the ever-popular right-hand side to score.

In typical green-and-gold fashion, the Aussie onslaught resumed shortly afterwards, when Holmes grabbed his second four-pointer of the night to even the score 14-all.

As the match carried on, neither the rain nor the brutal physicality waned.

Minutes out from the final whistle, the Junior Kiwis attempted a field-goal, which was nudged off past the paintwork. Down the other end, Gutherson responded with his own similar attempt that turned out to be fizzer.

Barely a minute from the last siren, Dockar-Clay broke the line and tore off for the posts, only to line Te Maire Martin up for an easy field goal.

"We don't have to practice things like that. These kids are professional footballers, they know it's a one-point situation and the message has gone out," Junior Kiwis coach Brent Gemmell said on the field-goal situation.

Just when it looked over for all money, the New Zealanders were penalised for a late shoulder charge on halfback Ryan Matterson. Gutherson's shot from 40 metres out was painfully close to going over.

"There's enough football talent on the field. We just strung those posession stats the right way," he said.

Despite the trying weather conditions, Gemmell said he was very pleased with his side's ball play and execution.

Junior Kiwis 15 (Watson Heleta, Chance Peni & Kohi Nikorima tries; Zach Docker-Clay goal; Te Matre Martin field goal) Junior Kangaroos 14 (Valentine Holmes 2 tries; Clint Gutherson 3 goals)

Thompson into Kiwis for Moa

17 October 2014

West Tigers forward Bodene Thompson has received a late call-up for the NZ Kiwis' Four Nations campaign, after prop Sam Moa withdrew due to family illness.

Thompson (26) was touring Queensland with the NZ Maori side, when he was added to the national side and will assemble with the Kiwis on the Gold Coast tomorrow.

Originally from Tauranga, Thomspon moved to Australia as a teenager and played three seasons for the Gold Coast Titans, before joining the Tigers in 2013. He has now made 85 NRL first-grade appearances, scoring 16 tries.

He joins centre Sosaia Feki, prop Suaia Matagi, second row Jason Taumalolo and wing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak as rookies in the national side, although Taumalolo was a non-playing member of the 2012 Anzac Test squad.

The Kiwis open their Four Nations account against Australia at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, October 25.

The NZ Kiwis squad for the 2014 Four Nations tournament is:

Gerard Beale (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Adam Blair (Wests Tigers)

Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm)

Lewis Brown (Penrith Panthers)

Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs)

Sosaia Feki (Cronulla Sharks)

Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles)

Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm)

Siliva Havili (Vodafone Warriors)

Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles)

Shaun Johnson (Vodafone Warriors)

Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters)

Thomas Leuluai (Vodafone Warriors)

Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Simon Mannering (Vodafone Warriors)

Suaia Matagi (Vodafone Warriors)

Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Kevin Proctor (Melbourne Storm)

Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys)

Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers)

Bodene Thompson (Wests Tigers)

Manu Vatuvei (Vodafone Warriors)

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers)

Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers)