Michael Hooper will embrace the return of David Pocock but says it’s unclear exactly how the Wallabies’ loose forwards will line up at the Rugby World Cup.
Australian Schoolboys have ended ten years of pain with an impressive 23-17 victory over fierce rivals New Zealand Schools to reclaim the Novotel Trans-Tasman Trophy at St Joseph’s College in Sydney today.
Does this bode well for the next Rugby World Cup?
Tries to Robert Horne and Afusipa Taumoepeau and thirteen points from the boot of flyhalf Matt Toomua earned Australia its first victory over New Zealand since 1997, and just their sixth victory against the Kiwis since 1978.
Played in front of a vocal 2,000 strong crowd, the hosts started brightly and opened the scoring through a Matt Toomua penalty in the fourth minute.
New Zealand responded strongly and following a great run by fullback Charlie Ngatai, the Kiwis quickly moved the ball wide for lock Daniel Faleafa to dive over. Ben Botica slotted the conversion for a 7-3 lead.
Late in the half, both teams traded penalty goals and the visitors went into half time holding a four point lead, 10-6.
As he did in the first half, Toomua opened the scoring at the start of the second stanza with a well-taken penalty to close the margin to just one point.
Australia regained the lead soon after when Robert Horne sliced through the Kiwi’s midfield defence to score the host’s first try of the match. Toomua added the extras for a 16-10 lead.
The try lifted the home team and they crossed again after a brilliant delayed pass from Toomua found Afusipa Taumoepeau and the Joey’s winger strolled over next to the posts to put the Aussies in a commanding position 23-10.
However, a late try to Kiwi winger Julian Savea set up a frantic final minute, but the Australian defence weathered the late barrage to hang on for a famous victory.
Australian Schools 23 (Robert Horne, Afusipa Taumoepeau tries: Matt Toomua 3 pens, 2 cons) defeated New Zealand Schools 17 (Daniel Faleafa, Julian Savea tries; Ben Botica 2 cons, pen).
Half-time: New Zealand 10-6
Referee: George Ayoub (AUS)
Crowd: 2,000 approx.