The Indigenous Australian Rugby Team 2018 Tour
Article upated September 20, 2018
The Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team began their five-match rugby tour of the U.S. and Canada with a 72-19 win against Army West Point B at the Anderson Rugby Complex on the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. on September 18. Following the match, the team traveled to Boston and played the Portland Rugby Football Club at Deering Memorial Stadium in Portland, Maine on September 19. Playing two matches in consecutive days, along with the travel involved is no easy task, but the team moved to 2-0 on the tour with a 69-19 win over Portland.
IART vs. Portland
David John Convers made twelve changes to the Indigenous Australian Rugby Team starters for the match against Portland RFC the following day after the 72-19 win against Army West Point Rugby. Josef Wilson retained his starting position at flanker, Liam Bilston moved from tighthead prop to No. 8 and Deon Evans-Ao switched from fullback to outside center.
All replacements started against Army West Point Rugby with Wills at hooker, Lowah at loosehead prop, Thompson and Smith at lock, Fitzsimmons at flanker and Snowball at No. 8. In the backs Fuller and Huet-Emerald were centers, Wikaria-Noosa and Williams the halfbacks and Saul was at wing.
The changes did not stop the Indigenous Australian Rugby Team’s prolific attack that has averaged over 70 points per match.
David John Conyers Match Recap
Fulltime IAIR 69-19 Portland – Halftime IAIR 22-7 Portland
The Indigenous Australian touring team played their second tour match last night against the only men’s rugby team in the state of Maine. Unable to secure a fixture in Massachusetts the team traveled interstate to Maine for the evening fixture and endured a very physical encounter with their Portland hosts.
The Indigenous boys faced a men’s cub for the first time and quickly found out the step up in contact and experience level are real. The scoreboard did not open until 16 minutes in when on the back of three consecutive penalties the hosts plowed their way over with brute force to lead 7-0.
A further 10 minutes elapsed and a passage where the visitors were required to show some stern defense to repel the local assault transpired. It was at the end of this section that the Australians gained some territory and possession that ended with a great kick into the in-goal area, and a lot of work from Rueben House to beat out several men to ground the ball. Deon Evans converted from wide out to level up the scoreboard at the 27minute marker.
The ten-minute period before the long break is usually when a team leak tries and fatigue comes into play. This was very evident for the host team as 3 snappy tries were posted when a speed raid across the field shell-shocked the local crowd. Corbin Walters, Josh Smith and Daniel Rosendale all got their names on the score sheet from a charge down, great footwork and outstanding link play respectively that extended the lead to 22-7 at the 40- minute stoppage.
The first ten minutes after the long break is another statistically driven period where reconcentration effects teams. This time it was the visitors who added to those stats and forgot to switch on, allowing the Americans to add two quick tries and close the game to just a deficit of 3 at 19-22.
This situation was further impacted when an Indigenous player was sent to the bin after the fireworks erupted and emotions became unintelligent.
With just now 20 minutes left on the clock and a refocus on proceedings, buoyed by some fresh legs the Indigenous team constructed some amazing running rugby to lodge 7 late tries and set the house on fire with some enterprising play. A lone voice from the opponent’s caldron that echoed across the ground with the call of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie” and the acknowledgment we had another countryman in-house, was a nice call from home.
Quick tries to Kai Lowah after his power running and fullback Deon Evans, who continually slices the defense were laid down a minute apart. The next 4 touchdowns occurred in a purple patch of attack as clumsy play from the hosts under fatigue, then turned defense into the attack for the Aussie raiders.
Josh Smith, Deon Evans, Ethan Wikiara, and Anthony Fuller points all came from long range surges and the ability to maximize line breaks, something that had been deficient in the Westpoint encounter stats.
Late tries to forward runners, Braeden Smith and Corbin Walters rounded out the score to 69-19 and a tally of 47 points posted in the last 30 minutes to rouse the local Portland crowd.
Best for Indigenous were Daniel Rosendale who played consistently well for the match, Corbin Walters who is rapidly emerging as a great future prospect and the Yellow-card Villain Liam Bilston in the forward line who arced up some physical play. The backline played much more consistently as a group with improved communication and support lines a feature of the evening.
The team travels through the American northeast today en route to Montreal Canada, ahead of Friday nights clash with the French-speaking Quebec Select squad.
Indigenous Australian Rugby Team vs. Portland: 1 Connor Lynch 2 Bryce Adamson 3 Aaron Brown 4 Mitchell Hudson 5 Daniel Rosendale 6 Josef Wilson 7 Corbin Walters 8 Liam Bilston 9 Tiriwa Gristwood 10 David Green 11 Josh Smith 12 Aiden Wikaira 13 Deon Evans-Ao 14 Shayman Shepperd 15 Ruben House 16 Jerome Wills 17 Kai Lowah 18 Elliot Thompson 19 Braeden Smith 20 Peter Fitzsimmons 21 Leonard Snowball 22 Anthony Fuller 23 Aaron Williams 24 Ethan Wikaria-Noosa 25 Isaiah Huet-Emerald 26 Matt Saul
The Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby team have begun their six-match rugby tour of the United States and Canada. The team is an under-25 squad comprised of players of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders descent. Selection to the invitational team was based on the contributions made as a player, as well as to their communities. David John Conyers, who is the head coach for Austria, is coaching the side.
Prior to the tour, the team assembled for a training camp at the Bindal Sports Grounds in Townsville, Queensland, Australia on September 12-14 and then departed for New York City arriving on September 15.
The Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team Travels to Canada
Following the match against Portland, the team will travel to Montreal to play the Quebec Selects on September 21, and then to Toronto, conduct a coaching clinic at Iroquois Roots Rugby at Niagara Falls, Ontario. They will play their fourth match of the tour on Sunday, September 23 in Oshawa, Ontario against the Ontario Blues Senior Development XV side.
IART Matches 4 & 5
The 4th match for the IART will be on September 26 against the Indigenous Warriors from the U.S. at Denver University. The team concludes their match tour against California State University, Long Beach on Sep. 28 before returning home on September 29 from Los Angeles.
IART Tour Matches, Clinic, and Preview Article
- Sep. 18 vs. Army West Point at U.S. Military Academy- W 72-19
- Sep. 19 vs. Portland RFC in Portland, Maine – W 69-19
- Sep. 21 vs. Quebec Selects in Montreal, Quebec
- Sep 22 Coaching Clinic at IroquisRoots Rugby at Niagara Falls, Ontario
- Sep. 23 vs Ontario Blues Senior Development XV at Oshawa, Canada
- Sep. 26 Indigenous Warriors at Denver University
- Sep. 28 California State University-Long Beach
- Sep. 29 Depart Los Angeles
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