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By ARU Media Unit
Australian Rugby Union’s National Academy sides have bounced back from initial losses in the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup to record healthy wins over Tonga A and Junior Japan on Tuesday.
The Brisbane-based Academy side showed its true potential on Tuesday night with a convincing 76-26 win over Junior Japan, while the Sydney-based side recorded a spirited 32-18 win over Tonga A at TG Milner Oval in Eastwood.
Brisbane Academy coach Paul Carozza believed this to be a highly valuable experience for his team
“It was a great learning experience for the boys because we started out really well but then we started to play with less discipline,” Carozza said.
“We needed to regain our structure after the first half and I was really pleased with the result in the second half.
“It was great for the team to play the Fijian team last week and the Japanese team this week because they play two different styles of Rugby and it’s good for the boys to experience a variety of different playing styles.”
After a try from Captain Jake McIntyre in the opening minutes, the stage was set for a competitive and exciting game from the determined Academy side. This was once again a good opportunity for the young side to play against an international team, further reinforcing the benefits of the Academy Program.
The Academy side’s attacking game proved particularly strong, with centres Samu Kerevi and Chris Kuridani combining speed and agility to set up several tries. Much-coveted territory was gained by the Academy side as a result of capitalising on Junior Japan’s handling errors.
Brief lapses in defence proved costly to the Academy team, with Junior Japan making use of their impressive speed to score three tries. The Academy managed to recover from these brief lapses, showing strong attack to further increase their winning margin.
Japan’s defence tightened in the last 25 minutes, making it difficult for the Academy to continue their try-scoring streak, only scoring one try during this time. Despite this, the Academy side’s defence remained strong and they did not concede any tries in the final 30 minutes.
In Sydney, National Academy and Tonga A traded penalties in the first half, with David Horwitz giving the hosts a 6-3 lead at half time.
Hugh Roach and B.J. Hartman crossed over early in the second half, with the successful conversions from Horwitz giving the Academy a comfortable 20-3 lead.
National Academy scored again through Lalakai Foketi and Jac Cameron midway through the second half, but Tonga A kept themselves in the contest with a try to Samisone Masima to take the score to 32-11.
While it was only a consolation, Tonga A had the last say in the match with Latuselu Vailea scoring through a moment of individual brilliance.
Sydney National Academy coach Sean Hedger was happy to see his players had learnt from their first match.
“The guys were much improved, the most pleasing thing was everything we worked on they took onto the field,” Hedger said.
“It just showed that the program we’ve got in place is working, they learnt from the first match and took that into the second match.
“We just want another improved performance from them next time. We can learn something from every game and we should be able to improve again.”
The third round of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup also featured Australian Super Rugby development sides in action, with Emirates Western Force A defeating Samoa A 34-11 at Ballymore and Melbourne’s Rebel Rising going down 27-22 to Fiji A at Harlequins RC.
The annual Pacific Rugby Cup features development teams from Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and now Japan playing three fixtures each in Australia before travelling to New Zealand to face its Super Rugby development sides.
The Australian leg of the tournament features development teams from all five Australian Super Rugby sides as well as the Sydney and Brisbane National Academy teams.
The tournament, funded by the IRB, sits one level below the Pacific Nations Cup and is a key Rugby development pathway for participating nations, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and now Japan.
The 2013 Pacific Rugby Cup champions will be determined by points accumulated across the tournaments in Australia and New Zealand, and the final round played prior to the northern hemisphere Test window.
National Academy Brisbane 76 – Junior Japan 26
National Academy tries - Jake McIntyre, Scott Malolua, Jamie Taulagi (2), Alex Toolis, Mitch Felsman (3), Samu Kerevi, Harry Parker (3).
National Academy conversions - McIntyre (4), Felsman (2).
National Academy penalty goals - Felsman (2).
Junior Japan tries - Takaaki Nakzuru, Takuya Yamasawa (2), Takumi Mikami.
Junior Japan conversions - Takuya Yamasawa (3).
National Academy Sydney 32 – Tonga A 18
National Academy tries – Hugh Roach, B.J. Hartman, Lalakai Foketi, Jac Cameron.
National Academy conversions – David Horwitz (2), Jack Debreczeni.
National Academy penalty goals – Horwitz (2).
Tonga A tries – Samisone Masima, Latuselu Vailea.
Tonga A conversion – Viliami Hakalo.
Tonga A penalty goals – Mosese Latu (2).
National Academy (Brisbane) v Junior Japan
University of Queensland
Jake McIntyre (C)
National Academy (Sydney) v Tonga A
Kotoni Ale (C)
2013 IRB Pacific Rugby Cup tournament schedule – Australian leg
HSBC Waratah A Team
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
ACT XV 58
Samoa A 19
Vikings Park, Canberra
Reds College XV 24
Tonga A 3
Brisbane Academy 17
Fiji A 24
Sydney Academy 24
Samoa A 33
TG Milner Oval, Sydney
ACT XV 62
Tonga A 12
Brisbane Academy 76
Junior Japan 26
Emirates Western Force A 34
Samoa A 11
Rebel Rising 22
Fiji A 27
Harlequins RC, Melbourne
Sydney Academy 32
Tonga A 18
Reds College XV
Griffith Oval, Canberra