The Counties Manukau U19s went down to a very polished Waikato side 52-24 over the weekend.
After gifting Waikato 14 points early in the contest, Counties Manukau fought back to score three first-half tries. Winger Quincy Penesio scored two while impressive loose forward Taeao Pomale-Time scored a brilliant 60m solo effort.
Waikato showcased their class in the second half, but Counties Manukau stayed in the fight and got a consolation try to loose forward Rupeni Nakiyoyo and secure a bonus point for their efforts.
Kafa Vaea was given the Red (Courageous) Player of the Day while Junior Talatau was awarded the Black (Working Hard) Player of the Day nods.
The Counties Energy Heat Development side lost to Waikato 31-20 but produced a much-improved performance.
“We’ve steadily been improving each week since we started four or so weeks ago,” said coach Anthony Campbell. “We know what Waikato can do, especially after our last encounter in round 1 so we knew we had to front up and even though we didn’t get the result I felt like the team gave it their all.
“We had the services of a couple of Heat players this weekend, which provided us some more experience and leadership and I think the team got a lot of confidence from them.
“Our forwards worked really hard at the breakdown and our lineout was accurate. Margaret Manase had a massive work rate all game and all of our front rowers were damaging, with ball in hand and on defence.
“Kataraina Enosa-Taifau and Alana Grace also had solid performances in the midfield on attack and defence.
“We created some great opportunities but just couldn’t finish them and the score doesn’t really reflect how close the game was. It was only our discipline and a couple of lapses in concentration that cost us but it’s all part of the learning process. We’ll take a lot out of this game and look to build on it again when we go up against Auckland this Sunday.”
In the Steelers Development pre-season the team impressed with a 45-33 over Auckland while in the Under 85s pre season the team had a good outing with a 17-17 draw against Waikato.
Keep an eye on our social channels for the Under 85kg Squad announcement coming soon.
Find the full Northern Regions Rep Team Draw and Results here.
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