A strong performance by the New Zealand Māori under 18’s league team has seen them take out their competition rivals Samoa in today’s Pasifika Youth Cup round robin match in Auckland.
The Māori team looked dominant during the opening play with two quick tries by Brisbane Bronco recruit Jordan Riki, and dummy-half player Josiah Ru.
In response, Samoa winger Milan Brown and Domanyc Fidow Kele quickly scored two tries, which looked to have shifted the momentum.
But the NZ Māori under 18's came back with more tries and although Samoan captain Vito Tevega did score a try, it wasn’t enough and the Māori team came out on top 26 – 18.
Despite the victory, captain Joey Los’e knows says, “[They’re] big boys, hard tackles. So I think that us Māori got to play smarter. They’re a lot bigger than us, so just stick to our structure, and use our backs more and we’ll be in. "
Meanwhile, in the under 16’s, a late comeback by the Māori team against their Samoan counterparts wasn’t enough, eventually going down 20 – 14.
The Under 18’s have qualified for the final, while the under 16’s need to beat Tonga to qualify for the other spot after Samoa secured theirs with this victory.
The semi-finals and finals all get underway tomorrow from 10 am at Cornwall Park, Auckland.