Rugby-Championship

Will Jordan at the double as South defeat North

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The South beat the North 35-38 in an entertaining New Zealand Inter-Island clash at Sky Stadium, Wellington.

Will Jordan grabbed a brace, scoring the winning try in the dying seconds of a thrilling inter-island clash as the North fought back to claim the Loving Cup and Te Matau a Māui trophy.

The North edged a ten-try exhibition as the teams changed leads seven times, with both sides scoring two tries in each half.

Jordie Barrett scored a try and kicked 13 points from the tee for a match-haul of 18 points.

Rieko Ioane also netted a double, but it was not enough for the North Island. Damian McKenzie scored a try and kicked five conversions as well as having a hand in Ioane’s second try.

Both teams shared two tries apiece in the opening stanza before a thrilling second half saw the South nick the result and two trophies.

Rieko Ioane and Damian McKenzie scored for the North and Nepo Laulala and Jordie Barrett crossed for the South.

Barrett and McKenzie kicked both conversions and the former also added a first-half penalty as the South took a slender lead into the shed.

The North fought back and overturned a 10-point deficit with two quickfire scores, late in the game.

Aaron Smith finished off a fine attack soon after the interval but Jordan put the South back in front with an opportunistic score.

Barrett’s third conversion made it 21-24 on the hour.

Jordan was at the heart of his side’s Tyrel Lomax found his way over the chalk as the South took a grip on the game.

Rieko Ioane finished off an outstanding attack after Caleb Clarke’s midfield break to keep the North in the contest.

McKenzie added another two to cut the deficit back to three before Ash Dixon barged over with eight minutes remaining.

But Jordan broke hearts with a match-winning score at the death to cap a thrilling denouement.

This eagerly anticipated clash finally took place after much deliberation due to the Coronavirus pandemic and both teams came to play.

If anyone thought this was a glorified All Blacks trial match, they were mistaken as both teams played the game at Super Rugby intensity.

A few scuffles even broke out during the phoney war.

The North (playing in black) opened the scoring after an eight-phase attack when Rieko Ioane crossed in the third minute.

Beauden Barrett’s stabbed grubber sat up for Ioane to dot down under pressure from Jordie Barrett.

McKenzie, in charge of the kicking duties over Beauden, added the extras.

But the South (playing in white) hit back, taking a three-point lead in four minutes later after Jordie Barrett converted Nepo Laulala’s try before kicking an 11th-minute penalty.

McKenzie scored his island’s second try to put the North back in front following some slick passing down the short side.

Caleb Clarke, Rieko Ioane, TJ Perenara and the Chiefs fullback all combined to keep the ball alive before the diminutive speedster crossed.

McKenzie converted his try to make it 14-10 inside the opening quarter.

Hoskins Sotutu saved the day for the South, dotting down Richie Mo’unga’s diagonal stab-kick which was intended for Jordie Barrett, who was on the same wavelength.

The South had a try chalked off in the 23rd-minute after a well-worked maul.

Captain Sam Whitelock was not impressed because it looked like the maul had never broken despite a pod breaking off to the left and crashing over.

Patrick Tuipulotu got warned after his charges conceded a fourth penalty in quick succession, two inside their 22.

Jordie Barrett pulled his penalty-goal attempt well wide.

The South’s pack was winning the mini-battle in the tight phases, their pack getting on top with a few scrum-penalties inside the opening half-hour.

South get on the board before halftime to stay in the hunt.

In the 31st-minute, Jordie Barrett, up against Sevu Reece and Perenara, crashed over in the corner after another sustained attack by the men in white.

The Hurricanes playmaker slotted the touchline conversion as the South regained the lead.

Reece went close after Anton Lienert-Brown’s mini-break and chicken-wing offload, but the winger was hauled into touch by Crusaders team-mate George Bridge.

The North had a couple of chances before halftime but could not take any points as the teams went into the break separated by three.

North strike soon after halftime.

McKenzie’s deep run sucked in the South’s defence before sending the imperious Sotutu down the touchline.

The No 8 held off three defenders before offloading to the supporting McKenzie, who played in the Highlanders halfback Smith for the score.

The fullback added the extras to make it 21-14 in the 47th-minute.

The scrums continued to be a mess, both teams conceding two penalties from the set-piece.

They had to be reset at every turn, sometimes on multiple occasions as the front rows kept going to ground.

Clarke, trying to keep a bouncing ball in play on the halfway line, gifted Jordan a runaway try. It was vintage Jordan, who has a nose for the try-line and an eye on a different black jersey.

Jordan was at it again.

He played in Jack Goodhue, who returned a pass to the utility back. Jordan, on the wing, popped to Barrett as the South sniffed the whitewash.

Quick ball from the resulting ruck saw Lomax take Mo’unga’s pass and his barnstorming run could not be stopped from so close to the line.

Barrett’s kick increased the lead to two scores.

It was the North’s turn to dominate, taking the lead with two outstanding tries.

The game was slipping from the North, but Clarke’s midfield break ended with Rieko Ioane scoring under the sticks.

It was a sublime attack, starting on the North’s 10m. The Blues winger carried from halfway to the 22, tackled by Jordie Barrett.

Quick ball from the resulting ruck was shifted to Ioane, who slipped a weak tackle and cut inside to score.

McKenzie made it 28-31.

Lomax strayed offside after a quick-tap penalty, and the North, eschewing a chance to level from in front, opted for an attacking lineout.

It worked a treat. A six-phase attack from the lineout led to Dixon crashing over under the posts in the 72nd-minute.

Dixon looked to have been held-up but the referee decided not to go upstairs and check, despite protestations from Whitelock and his team-mates.

McKenzie’s converted.

A thrilling denouement ends in heartbreak for the North, who had the game sewn up.

Ardie Savea – who else – won a priceless penalty at the ruck on his line with less than a minute to go to give his team some breathing space.

It should have sealed the win for the North.

However, a botched lineout allowed the South the last attack. They won a series of penalties before Jordan won the game with a piece of magic.

Josh Ioane saw Jordan one on one with Mitchell Hunt (a mismatch). Jordan outjumped Hunt to win the game for the South.

Cue bedlam as his team-mates mobbed him.

Final Score: North 35 (17) South 38 (14)

Scorers

North
Tries – R. Ioane (2), McKenzie, A. Smith, Dixon
Pen –
Con – McKenzie (5)
Drop –
Cards –

South
Tries – Laulala, J. Barrett, Jordan (2), Lomax
Pen – Barrett
Con – Barrett (5)
Drop –
Cards

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Ben O’Keeffe

Teams

North: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Mitchell Hunt

South: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Brayden Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Mitchell Dunshea, 4 Sam Whitelock (captain), 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 George Bower, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Dillon Hunt, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Leicester Faingaanuku

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