Koonwaiyou hat-trick seals World Cup for Colts


Monday, June 28, 2004    NZRU

Wing Tony Koonwaiyou scored three tries to steer his side to victory on a wet and slippery afternoon that could have played into the hands of the Irish.

But New Zealand produced arguably their most intense and complete performance of the championships by putting Ireland under pressure from the outset and never relenting.

"It feels even better the second time around," an elated coach Bryce Woodward said afterwards.

"I think because we were the favourites and had the added pressure of being defending champions is what makes this more special.

"This is a great group of players and we always knew we had very good backs but in these weather conditions we had to get the forwards right.

"We managed to do that through a lot of hard work and even though it was slippery underfoot most of the time, once we had a platform we were always going to play an open expansive game."

The victory continues a remarkable sequence for the Colts at Under-21 championships going back to 2000. In five years (two SANZAR/UAR tournaments and three World Championships) New Zealand have lost only one game and that was by a point.

The haka was the most intense so far and although Ireland predictably came out breathing fire, New Zealand played with calm assurance, making sure their passes were accurate and their attention to detail precise.

After 80 minutes they had scored six tries while restricting the Irish to just two touchdowns.

First five-eighth Luke McAlister added 17 points from the boot to take his tournament tally to 57.

He had slotted two penalties after 13 minutes before Ireland halved the lead with a long-range drop-goal from flyhalf Gareth Steenson in the 20th minute.

But in six minutes the Colts ripped the game away from Ireland through two tries - the first to industrious flank Jonathan Poff in which captain Ben Atiga and hooker John Pareanga were prominent.

The second was scored by Koonwaiyou who finished off a move started by a typical storming break by No 8 Jerome Kaino, who was the outstanding loose forward at the Championships.

Although Ireland managed to score a try from No 8 Jamie Heaslip, from a lineout drive on the stroke of halftime, it did little to dent New Zealand confidence or the ultimate outcome.

The sides swapped penalties in the first five minutes of the second half before Koonwaiyou added his second try on the hour.

Ireland, to their credit, would not lay down and scored a second try, which was a carbon copy of their first, this time going the way of lock Shane O'Connor.

But that was the end of the fight from the brave Irish as replacement hooker Tii Paulo and wing Hosia Gear added more tries.

"It's a great feeling to win a second time," Atiga said. "We have been lucky to have skilful players for the last few years at such a young age.

"It is awesome to be part of a team like this."


New Zealand - Tries: Jonathan Poff, Tony Koonwaiyou (3), Tii Paulo, Hosia Gear. Conversions: Luke McAlister (4). Penalties: McAlister (3).

Ireland - Tries: Jamie Heaslip, Shane O'Connor. Penalties: Steenson (2).
Drop-goal: Steenson.

New Zealand:15-Glen Horton; 14-Anthony Koonwaiyou, 13-Ben Atiga (capt), 12-Luke McAlister, 11-Rudolffe Wulf (Hosia Gear-72); 10-Stephen Donald, 9-Toby Morland (Piri Weepu-48); 8-Jerome Kaino, 7-Jonathan Poff, 6-George Naoupu, 5-James Ryan. 4-Craig Clark (Kurtis Haui-61, Mikaele Tuu'u-70)); 3-John Afoa, 2-John Pareanga (Tii Paulo-68), 1-Ben Franks.

Reserves: 16-Tii Paulo, 17-John Schwalger, 18-Kurtis Haiu, 19-MikaeleTuu 'u, 20-Piri Weepu, 21-Jimmy Gopperth, 22-Hosia Gear.

Ireland: 15-Andrew Finn; 14-Richard Lane, 13-John Hearty, 12-Glen Telford, 11-Paul McKenzie, 10-Gareth Steenson, 9-Tomas O'Leary; 8-Jamie Heaslip, 7-David O'Brien (Breiffne O'Donnell-72), 6-Brendan O' Connor, 5-Shane O'Connor, 4-David Gannon (capt), 3-Declan Fitzpatrick, 2-Denis Fogarty (Conor Geoghan-76), 1-John Wickham.