Answering the Kiwi challenge
By STEVE SPINKS and EOIN JOHNSTON
IF you heard Maori war cries near Wollongbar on Friday night it's a fair chance it was the Wanganui High School rugby union team's First XV challenge to the Wollongbar Under-17s.
Wanganui, a school from the lower North Island of New Zealand, performed a haka before their match against the junior Pioneers.
It was a haka specific to their area of New Zealand and a bit different to the one you see the All Blacks perform before a Test match.
If the Kiwi challenge was fierce, so was the rugby, as Wanganui ran out 30-12 victors over the local 17s.
Although on the wrong end of the scoreline, Wollongbar coach Dave Martin was extremely happy with his side's performance considering the Wollongbar Under-19s had been outgunned 41-0 only two days before.
Wanganui's coach, Tony McBride, is an assistant coach with the Wellington Hurricanes Super 12 team's Academy squad.
Best of the locals included rugged prop Jess Potts, lock Ben Pool and five-eighth Jack Hodder.
The New Zealand high school also took on Trinity Catholic College in netball earlier in the afternoon.
Trinity, coached by Kath Ellis, put in a strong display but the Kiwis proved too strong running out victors 46-30.
The match was played at a furious pace and the Trinity girls made the highly skilled and well-drilled visitors work hard for their points.
Wanganui led 23-15 at half-time.
Best for Trinity were Rene Lowbridge, Rachael Scicluna and Roxanne Hansen.
Wanganui's head coach, Vand Buttars, praised the ability of the North Coast girls and mentioned she would be interested in establishing an exchange program.
The New Zealand High School continue their Australian tour in Victoria this week.
On Sunday, they watched an AFL match between Carlton and Freemantle at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Yesterday they signed a sister school agreement with Wanganui High School in rural Victoria.
The agreement preceded games of netball and a hybrid game of AFL and rugby.
Rugby was played for one half with AFL played in the second-half.