Penrith’s Under 20’s have given up a 13 point lead, to go down to the Warriors 30-13 at Mount Smart Stadium today.
After dominating the first half and keeping the home side scoreless, they suffered that same fate in the second half, conceding five unanswered tries and letting the Warriors steal the game from under their noses.
The match was riddled with errors and dropped balls, with plenty of penalties for both teams. Our defence was outstanding in the first half, completing our sets and missing only a handful of tackles. But the young Kiwis were a completely different side in the second 40 minutes and they ran rings around us.
The Panthers drew first blood five minutes into the game, when hooker Kierran Moseley took the ball from dummy half on the 10m line and passed it to Brendan Attwood, who charged at the Warriors defenders and barged hi way over to score. Corey Harawira-Naera converted from in front to give Penrith a 6-0 lead.
Chris Smith scored our second try at the 18 minute mark after we were awarded a penalty on the 20m line. Moseley took the tap and gave the ball to Smith who tucked it under his arm, put his head down and ran at the line, barrelling his way through a pack of defenders before stretching his arm out to get the ball down. Corey sent it straight through the uprights to extend our lead to 12-0.
For the next 20 minutes, Penrith dominated possession and attacked hard at their line but couldn’t break through for another try. The Warriors were good in defence but continually made mistakes, handing the Panthers the advantage on numerous occasions.
In the final 30 seconds of the half, halfback Sam Scarlett booted a field goal straight through the uprights to send Penrith into the break with a 13 point lead.
HALF TIME: 13-0 Panthers
The Warriors gave Penrith a bit of a scare in the opening minute of this half after forcing a goal line drop out in the first set. On collecting the ball again, big #16 Paul Tuli got the ball from dummy half and took off towards his line, but just as he was going in to score a try he lost the ball in a tackle.
It didn’t matter though because two minutes later they did manage to get over the line in a perfectly executed try. After drawing our players off their marks on the wing, Metia Lisati was left unmarked and when he was handed the ball he sprinted for the line to get the ball down. The tricky conversion went through the posts, taking the score to 13-6.
The Kiwi side had come out of the halftime break as a completely different side and Penrith wasn’t quite ready for it.
In the 58th minute the home side had their second try of the day when Captain Mason Lino dummied a pass on the 10m line and then sent the ball to Ofahiki Ogden who ran straight through a group of unsuspecting Panthers defenders to score. The conversion took the score to 13-12.
In the next set the Warriors had their third unanswered try, courtesy of fullback Brad Abbey. After forcing a goal line drop out, they kept the ball up their end and a perfectly timed pass from Lino put Abbey into enough space to find the line. With the kick, the Warriors took and 18-13 lead with 17 minutes on the clock.
In the 72nd minute, the Kiwi side was over again, after utilising a string of decoy runners to move the ball from the centre of the field out to the left wing, where Semisi Tyrell collected it in the sideline and sprinted 100m to dive over near the corner post. The tricky conversion sailed straight through the posts, extending the home side’s lead to 24-13.
The final nail in the coffin was a fifth unanswered try to debutant Marata Niukore. It came after centre Paul Ulberg stole the ball off Sam Scarlett and took off down the field, sprinting 40m before being tackled. The ball then passed through a couple of hands before Niukore side stepped the Panthers defenders and went over to score. With the conversion, the score went to 30-13, with less than 5 minutes remaining.
FULL TIME: 30-13 Warriors