Australian Schools: Vaihu stars as Aussies send message to Kiwis to tour opener
With a drought-breaking win over their New Zealand counterparts the ultimate goal, the Australian Schools and U18 side fired in a warning shot in their tour-opening victory over Fiji.
The Australian side put on a clinic to down the Fijians 39-7 at Hilcrest High School on Thursday, to kick-start their tour of Aotearoa in perfect fashion.
It was a confidence-boosting win, and a similar showing against the New Zealand Barbarians on Monday will put the Australian side in good stead to snap their seven-year losing streak against the Kiwis’ top side.
The last time Australia won a trans-Tasman clash was way back in 2012, that 16-14 victory came on the latter side’s home soil too. The closest they’ve come since was a one-point defeat the year after, at Sydney’s Knox Grammar School.
Thursday’s tour-opening victory was led by Queensland winger Glen Vaihu, the Gregory Terrace flyer announcing himself as, potentially, the Australians’ most potent attacking weapon by crossing for a memorable hat-trick.
NSW Waratahs Academy’s Joe Suaalii notched a double from the other edge as well while Queensland’s Will Roach and Josh Flook also crossed from flanker and centre respectively, as the Aussies romped home in a seven-tries-to-one demolition job.
The Australian Schools and U18 outfit take on the New Barbarians at Hamilton Boys’ High School on Monday from 10.05am (AEST), and then face their Kiwi counterparts at St Paul’s Collegiate from 1.05pm on Friday afternoon.
The 27-man touring squad was named following the 2019 Academy Series, which finished in Brisbane last weekend, and also took into account the entire schoolboy calendar.
Players from all five academy sides – linked to the Reds, Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels, ACT Brumbies and Western Force – were selected.