first_imgWell, it’s grand final day at the Youth World Cup and reports are in that people are traveling from all over Queensland for the final day of competition. It’s set to be an all Australia-New Zealand grand final showdown with the final semi finals being played this morning. The Aussie 18’s Mixed side recovered from their forfeit disappointment yesterday to finish third and avoid the death semi final against the New Zealand side. Led by Ashley Shepherd with three touchdowns, they beat the Cook Islands 11-1 for a place in the grand final. On that topic, the start of the Mixed 18’s semi between Thailand and New Zealand was absolutely fantastic. The Aussie players and supporters lined up and gave the Thailand side a tunnel, cheering them as they ran onto the field, as the Thai players have no family, supporters or other sides here to receive the encouragement. It was also great to see the respect the Thai players pay their opponents and management, after they begin the match by lining up and bowing to their opponents and then turning and bowing to their team management. Great stuff to see at the Youth World Cup! New Zealand eventually won 24-1 in a one-sided semi final that sees them through to meet Australia at 12:00pm. It was also great to see the South African Mens 20’s who gathered in a circle, knelt and prayed before their bronze medal play off against Lebanon. It was a great game and finish for both sides, with Lebanon running out winners of the bronze medal after a 5-2 win. The Australian Mens 18’s qualified for their grand final with a win over the South African 18’s 11-1. The win should give them confidence in their grand final with New Zealand this afternoon. The Australian Mixed 20’s survived an early scare down 2-1 against the Cook Islands, recovering to win 17-2 and qualify for today’s grand final. Finally, what more amazing way to finish the tournament, than with the Mens 20’s grand final is the circumstances we saw. Make sure you read below! Womens 18’s Grand Final at 11:00am: The New Zealanders came out firing for the Womens under 18’s grand final, with New Zealand’s number 12 Queenie Tupaea crossing the line for a touchdown in the first set of six of the match. Although the Aussies fought hard in defense the New Zealand’s number 2 scored wide not long after taking the score to 2-0. Nikki Etheridge replied to the Kiwi’s try, restoring hope to the Aussies and taking the score to 2-1. In the second half it became a case of keeping it in the family for the Kiwi’s. Sisters, Shay and Cassidy Easton both crossed for touchdowns, taking the score to 4-1. Australia’s Amanda Skwarko scored a good try with a few minutes to go, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Aussies in the match. After a try to Coral Easton in the final minute, the Kiwi’s secured themselves as the deserving World Champions in the Womens 18’s division. Mixed 18’s Grand Final 12:00pm: It was certainly an up and down week for the Australian Mixed 18’s…after forfeiting their first three games after administrative errors, they were faced with a very tough Kiwi side, who had beaten them convincingly in the round matches. The Australian side were not about to step back however, as they scored early through Belinda Hammett. They were relentless in defense, up in the faces of the strong Kiwi side and forcing them to make errors and gain little ground. The first half belonged to New Zealand captain Henry Dunn, who scored three times for his side, each time answering the scores of Belinda Hammett, Ricky Morris and Ashley Shepherd. Down 4-3 at half time the Aussies equaled through Justin Heuser and then took the lead after a diving touchdown by Cameron Nicholls. The run of Ricky Morris and brilliant last line defense by Morris, Claire Giarola and the entire Aussie team, showed how desperate they were to hold the Kiwis out. When Dean Springfield scored again with 2 minutes to go, the score was 6-4 and Justin Heuser’s second touchdown was the icing on the cake for a 7-4 win and Youth World Cup Under 18’s Mixed title. Mens 18’s Grand Final at 1:00pm: A disappointed Australian Mens under 18’s team were defeated by the New Zealand team 8-5 after a tough match. After being beaten by the Kiwi’s convincingly in the round games, the Aussies were keen to score the first touchdown. They did this through Dylan Hennessey in the opening minutes. The Kiwi’s responded instantly, with number two Garry Reilly scoring in the next set of six. New Zealand number 11, Joseph Tarau then crossed in the corner to make the score 2-1. The Aussies couldn’t contain the speed and agility of Garry Reilly and he crossed for his second touchdown as did Joseph Tarau to make the score 4-1. Dean Taylor scored for the Aussies narrowing the gap to two touchdowns. After two more tries to the Kiwi’s before half time they led 6-2 going into the break. The Australians played a better second half, with co-captain Ji Bonner crossing the line after half time to make the score 6-3. Although the Aussies put up a good fight the Kiwi’s proved too strong and took the title of under 18’s Mens Youth World Champions, winning 8-5. Mixed 20’s Grand Final 2:00pm: The Mixed 20’s final started one way and finished the same way…New Zealand. On the back of three touchdowns from Jamilla Gupmell in the first half, the Kiwi’s took a 7-1 lead into the break. Their attack was simply too smart for the Australian side who looked flat and constantly behind the play, unable to read the attack of the Kiwis. Australia did lift their game in the second half, scoring three times through Jai Curry, David Denning and Jarah Jennings but were unable to hold off the Kiwis. A 9-4 final scoreline giving New Zealand the Mixed Under 20’s Youth World Cup title and a 3-1 lead in the rubbers for the overall Youth World Cup title. Australia will now need both the Mens and Womens 20’s to win their titles to equal New Zealand with 3 titles a piece and bring about the points system for overall Champions. Girls 20’s Grand Final 3:00pm: The Australian Womens under 20’s kept Australia’s dream of a World Cup title alive when they defeated New Zealand 4-2. In what was a tight game, the first try was scored about 10 minutes into the match by New Zealand’s, giving them to a good start. The Aussies retaliated when Kate Basely crossed the line, and continued to be uplifted by efforts such as Jess Howe’s length of the field try making the score 2-1. ACT’s Mel Ingram crossed to make the score 3-1 putting Australia in a good position heading into half time. The Kiwi’s had something to say about that though, scoring right on the half time buzzer bringing the margin back to one. With seven minutes to go Kelly McGennity secured the victory for Australia, making the score 4-2. Both teams put in a great effort, with the Aussies coming out deserving winners of the Under 20’s Womens title. Mens 20’s Grand Final at 4:00pm: In what was easily the most exciting and controversial match of the tournament, the Aussies were absolutely brilliant in their grand final against New Zealand. With 5 minutes to go in the first half and the score locked at 1-1, Australian Mat Bird was sent from the field for the remainder of the match, leaving Australia playing with five players for the remainder of the game. No doubt every person at Quad Park thought that Australia was done for. It certainly wasn’t widely believed that the Aussies could hold off the Kiwi attack with only 5 players on the field at any one time. But everyone was wrong. Time and time again the Australian defense made diving touches, saving certain touchdowns, playing above themselves, barely allowing the Kiwi attack to move forward. On top of that the Aussies managed to score twice themselves, making the Kiwi’s look lost in both attack and defense. The leadership and heart of Troy Malcolm was no doubt an inspiration for his team, as players like Andrew Knox, Chris Rawlinson and Sebe Rey stepped up, although the entire team is worthy of being mentioned here. In one of the most unbelievable matches of Touch seen for quite some time, the Aussies held the Kiwis to 3 touchdowns, whilst scoring 3 of its own, leaving the score at 3 all at the end of normal time. The extra time drop off had the Aussies down to four players against the Kiwi’s five and they could not hold out any longer. Going down 4-3 they may not take the official title of Youth World Cup Under 20 Champions home, but they will certainly take the title of most deserving winners home. They played with nothing but passion, ultimate commitment and pride for themselves, their team mates and their country. We are all incredibly proud of them and they are true champions. By Rachel Moyle and Lisa Plummerlast_img

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