Indigenous teams from across the globe converged at Takanini's Bruce Pulman Park over the weekend for the Oceania Indigenous Invitational Cup. In the Open men’s grand finale, New Zealand Invitational went up against Lebanon.
Lebanon got the ball rolling quickly at the blow of the whistle.
New Zealand Invitational came close to equalising but a handling error let them down. But only seconds after found a second chance from a forward pass.
Defence lifted from both sides. Lebanon were too slow to catch George Taina who broke through the lines to find New Zealand's second try.
Lebanon came back to equalise again. But the NZ side persevered to stay one step ahead of the visitors.
Mishandling errors continued to let Lebanon down, New Zealand wasting no time to capitalise. Taina coming through with another spectacular try before halftime. 4-2 to NZ Invitational.
After much attempts, Lebanon came back to narrow the margins.
However, their defence was no match for Taina who continued to dive over the line. Final score: 5-4 to New Zealand.
New Zealand representative George Taina says, "It was a challenge aye, a bit tiring but Lebanon pushed us all the way."
New Zealand representative George Puleanga says, "It was just brotherhood and knowing what we're playing for at the end of the day. I think that was what got us through the whole weekend actually not just this game."