Internationals Weekly Wrap: Finals Week
November 6, 2023
Kiwis hand Kangaroos largest ever defeat in Pacific Cup stunner
New Zealand are the Pacific Cup champions after pulling off a 30-0 upset against Australia in Hamilton on Saturday.
It was the biggest loss in Kangaroos history and the first time that they had been held scoreless since the 2005 Tri-Nations Final.
Tries to wingers Ronaldo Mulitalo and Jamayne Isaako boosted the hosts to a 12-0 half-time lead before a second Isaako try early in the second stanza made life all the more uncomfortable for the Kangaroos.
Matt Timoko crossed on the hour-mark before the Kiwi procession was capped off with a late four-pointer to interchange middle Griffin Neame.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who played despite a rib complaint, assisted on a try and ran for 277 metres from 30 carries with six tackle breaks whilst Isaako scored two and ran for 146 metres with five tackle breaks.
Joseph Tapine ran for 197 metres and made a team-high 33 tackles whilst Dylan Brown assisted on two tries and ran for 129 metres with five tackle breaks.
A number of questions were asked of Mal Meninga and the Kangaroos in the aftermath with their eight-game winning streak coming to an end.
England too strong for Tonga, claim series 3-0
England capped off their series against Mate Ma’a Tonga with a 26-4 win in the third and final clash between the sides in Leeds over the weekend.
Ben Currie and Matty Ashton got the hosts on the board in the first half before tensions flared just shy of the break with England’s Matty Lees and Tonga’s Keaon Koloamatangi both binned for their role in a scuffle.
An Elliott Whitehead try extended the England lead on the other side of the break before Harry Newman joined the scorers with a late Eliesa Katoa try the only Tongan points of the encounter.
Harry Smith assisted on a pair of tries and made 24 tackles for the hosts whilst John Bateman ran for 115 metres with nine tackle breaks and made 36 tackles.
Whilst England proved a class above throughout the three clashes, Tonga made history touring the United Kingdom for the first time and will look to build off their experiences moving forward.
Kumuls upset Fiji Bati to take out Pacific Bowl Final
The Papua New Guinea Kumuls are the inaugural Pacific Bowl champions after dispatching of Fiji Bati 32-12 in Port Moresby on Sunday afternoon.
A dream start saw Edwin Ipape claim the contest’s opening points before a Robert Derby double plus an Alex Johnston four-pointer on the stroke of half-time propelled the hosts to a 26-0 lead heading into the sheds.
A second half Waqa Blake double saw some life breathed back into the contest for the Fijians before Maika Sivo bombed a golden opportunity to cut into the lead further dropping the ball over the line with a late Epel Kapinias try sealing it for the Kumuls.
Johnston scored a try, assisted on another, and ran for 116 metres whilst Derby scored a double and ran for 148 metres with four tackle breaks.
Jahream Bula’s explosion onto the international scene continued with the fullback assisting on a try and running for 161 metres with five tackle breaks.