Young Māori and Samoan league players battle to a draw

By James Perry

The Auckland Māori and Samoa Invitational U20s league teams were unable to be separated at the end of their clash today. The final score being 24-24. 

The game contained some great tries and some solid defense, but Auckland Māori captain Wyatt Rangi was satisfied with his side's efforts. "It was very physical. Samoa put up a great performance. But the boys showed heart," he said. 

Rangi also pointed out that his side only got together yesterday, so the drawn result was pleasing.

Samoa was more dominant side throughout the game. They were the first to cross the try line. But with the clock winding down to half time, the Auckland Māori side kicked into gear and scored three tries of their own.

The most impressive came off a Casey Smith break from near halfway that William Pompey finished off in the corner.  Auckland Māori took a 16-6 lead into the half time break.

Momentum swung back and forth in the second half, neither side managing to gain too much control.

Samoa managed to claw back two tries, and Smith was able to cross for a try of his own.

With time nearing the end, and the scores close both sides dug deep to try and secure a win.

With five minutes left in the game, Samoa snuck ahead with a converted try. But a penalty goal by Smith in the final minute leveled the scores 24-24.

Samoan player Phillip Makatoa says they let the game slip from their grass, but while no one likes a draw, he says "that's the way footy is."

Rangi would like to see more games like this take place in the years ahead.