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Australian Schools has gone down to New Zealand Schools 24-12 in a tight battle at Ballymore on Saturday evening.

In torrential conditions in Brisbane, New Zealand shot out to a 0-7 lead and could have scored more if not for some strong defensive work by Australia to hold out waves of New Zealand attack.

Australia’s halves pairing of Spencer Jeans and Carter Gordon worked hard in the wet conditions to give Australia’s backs space out wide, with Gordon’s kicks frequently turning New Zealand around.

New Zealand responded well to the conditions, playing a strong forwards game with their set piece providing a strong platform to attack Australia across the park.

New Zealand took the momentum in the second half, shooting out to a 0-19 and looking in control as the match entered its final quarter.

Australia struck back, again wrestling back momentum and turning it into points with two quick tries  Luke Reimer and Jeremy Williams bringing the score to 12-19.

The fans at Ballymore roared as Australia Schools asked questions of New Zealand defence, but the black jerseys found ways to halt the advancing Aussie momentum.

In the dying moments, New Zealand showed composure to find points with a late try to fullback Blair Murray ensuring that New Zealand Schools would take the victory at Ballymore and win the Schools Tri Nations Series.

Australian Schools Head Coach, Andrew Moloney said: “It was really tough encounter at Ballymore which was fitting of the performances from both teams.

“New Zealand were a class outfit and adapted to the wet conditions quicker than us. I thought our defence held well and countered and scrambled when put under pressure.

“I was impressed with the fight of our guys, we showed a lot of character and finished the game strongly.

“The year continues for Australian Schools with an exciting tour to Scotland and Ireland and we will take a lot from the Tri Nations Series as we head to the northern hemisphere.”

Earlier in the day, Australian Schools Barbarians defeated Tonga Schools 64-15, in an entertaining encounter.

Australian Schools 12
Tries: Reimer, Williams
Cons: Pasitoa

New Zealand Schools 24
Tries: Mau, Reihana, Williams, Murray
Cons: Reihana 2