Rugby Union: Black future for Wales

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The Independent Online
Welsh Schools U-18 6

NZ Schools U-18 42

New Zealand's build up to the 1999 World Cup is going very nicely. By then, the latest All Black heroes just might be Pita Wilson, Koula Tukino, Romi Ropati and Matthew Carrington.

They were just a few of the brightest performers in a stunning show by the New Zealand Schools that took Cardiff Arms Park by storm. Many of the players on view were identified four years ago and nurtured by the Kiwi system. New Zealand are unbeaten in four years and it will take mighty performances from Scotland or England to halt a clean sweep on their British tour.

In the open-side flanker Wilson, the tourists had the outstanding player. When Michael Jones decides to call it a day then do not be surprised if he comes into the reckoning. Lightning quick, strong in the tackle and explosive with the ball in hand he looked a class above the rest.

In the power stakes it was only the lock Tukino who outshone him. The giant Maori thundered around the pitch making huge dents in the Welsh defence, at times turning the game into men against boys. Only the Welsh captain, the No 8 Richard Field, was ableto come close to matching the New Zealand forwards.

There was some enterprise behind the scrum, with some deft midfield handling, but after a few big hits had been put in by the young Kiwis the ball became more like a hot potato in Welsh hands. Ball retention has never been a good aspect in the Welsh gameand it got worse and worse as the match wore on.

Welsh Schools: Penalties Jarvis 2. New Zealand Schools: Tries Howlett 3, Wilson, Willis, Carrington; Conversions Carrington 3; Penalties Carrington 2.

WELSH SCHOOLS U18: D Case (Neath Coll); P Hallett (St Albans), T Davies (Neath Coll), L Jarvis (Hawthorne), J Young (Neath Coll); G Roberts (Treorchy), G Downs (Rhydyfelen); E Fear, G Thomas, S Lee (all Llanhari), A Grabham (Glan Taf), R Edwards (Tregaron), M Cook (Neath Coll), R Field (St David's Coll, capt), D Coates (Neath Coll). Replacements: G Newman (Neath Coll) for Coates 20-26, 65; H Thomas (Christ College, Brecon) for Young 36.

NEW ZEALAND SCHOOLS U18: M Carrington (Kings Coll, Auckland); D Howlett (Auckland Grammar), R Ropati (Auckland Grammar), B Miller (Kamo High School), P Petolo (De La Salle Coll); Q Sanft (De La Salle Coll), B Willis (Kings Coll, Auckland); E Morgan (Gisborne Boys, capt), B Morris (Kings Coll, Auckland), P Jenkins (Rangiora High School), K Tukino (Wesley Coll), A Tiatia (Wellington Coll), B McLeod (Gisborne Boys), P Wilson (Otago Boys).

Referee: C Muir (Scotland).