The Indigenous Australian Rugby Team 2018 Tour
Article updated with Match recap by David John Conyers at 6pm September 19, 2018
The Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby team have begun their five-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.
After touring New York, the Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team played their first match of the tour against Army West Point B, winning 72-19, 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 will play the Portland Rugby Football Club at Deering Memorial Stadium in Portland, Maine on September 19.
Army West Point Rugby is an outstanding Collegiate rugby team and is currently ranked 6th in D1A Rugby. Army opened their season with a 32-25 win over Dartmouth, and last weekend with 28-10 and 86-3 Rugby East wins over St. Bonaventure and the University of Buffalo, respectively. With a match on Sep. 22 scheduled home against Iona College, the team withheld several starters for the mid-week contest against the Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team.
The Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team – Canada & Return to the U.S.
Following the match, the team will travel to Montreal and to Toronto, conduct a coaching clinic at Iroquois Roots Rugby at Niagara Falls, Ontario, and then play the Ontario Blues Senior Development XV side at Oshawa, Ontario on September 23.
The team then flies to Denver, Colorado for a match against the Indigenous Warriors on September 26 before playing their final match against California State University, Long Beach on Sep. 28. The team concludes their tour on September 29, returning home from Los Angeles.
The Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team issue challenge to Army West Point
IART Match Recap by David John Conyers
Fulltime IAIR 72-19; Halftime 34-7
“The touring Australian Indigenous rugby team opened their North American campaign with a punishing 72-19 victory over the United States Military Academy yesterday in upstate New York.
The Australian team performed well considering they had to overcome a nightmare 52-hour transit from Australia after a mechanical failure resulted in all ongoing connections being missed. The 26-man squad spent a couple of days in camp prior to departure and trained just once in Manhattan before the tour opener.
One has to visit the magnificent facility of Westpoint to see the power, history, and culture that surrounds it. It is undoubtedly America’s premier rugby park built at a cost of $12M and which purposely exudes professionalism across all its boundaries. The traditions and discipline exhibited by players and officials on and off the field were prevalent and consistent from the time we entered the complex.
The Indigenous war dance designed by the players that accompanied a didgeridoo opened proceedings for the game. With just three minutes on the clock and good field possession, the Visitors reacted to a penalty with a quick tap to see giant prop Leonard Snowball punch low and hard at the line to notch the first try for the Australians.
The second try came 5 minutes later when a deft kick and chase resulted in a regain of possession with the flyer from Emerald Qld, Isaiah Huet bagging the try that went unconverted again.
The Americans began to produce some continued raids in their opponent’s territory until a well-timed intercept from Dubbo’s Matt(Boris) Saul saw him race 60 meters in the opposite direction to post his teams 3rd try.
Bathurst Bulldog Peter Fitzsimmons anchored his first tour try after some good quick possessions and support lines to take the score to 20-0 after 17 minutes.
The Australians floundered a little at the 25-minute mark when a quick penalty action from the army men resulted in a powerful lunging and reaching try form the Westpoint winger to retrieve 7 points from the deficit.
Orange City fly half Aaron Williams delayed and delivered a well-timed pass to his hole-running midfielder in Anthony Fuller to claim the 5th Indigenous try which was finally converted.
The last try of the stanza was rewarded as a forward effort after three consecutive tighthead scrums gave scrum-half Ethan Wikaira his first touchdown from the base of the scrum to end the first half 34-7 in favour of the visitors.
The second period opened with a more determined effort from the hosts and some solid defence to hold out their opponents for the next 8 minutes before fullback Deon Evans silked his way through the defence out wide to notch his first 5 pointer.
Corbin Walters showed his emerging class finishing off a highly polished backline execution that unleashed two double cut passes that threaded the opposition defences.
The man they call GI, Isaiah Huet, who looks and performs like NRL legend Greg Ingliss, gathered the teams next points when he sliced through their line with speed and poise on an incisive run to the line.
Eight minutes later, Huet again was in the scoring action when a quick shift from good phase play saw the backline fire on the short side and saw him go over untouched to lead 60 -7 at the hour marker.
Some lazy play from the Australians saw a quick surge from the Americans on the back of a turnover to see their flanker out step the back three and notch his teams second try to trail 12-60.
Tour captain Braeden Smith logged the teams last try after a power surge on the line that was preceded by the last American try that left the final score at 72-19.
Best for Indigenous included Kai Lowah at prop who carried the ball strongly all day and out-scrummed his opponent all day. Wingman Corbin Walters put his name on the A-list with a great rookie performance. Vice-captain Peter Fitzsimmons demonstrated the perfect link role from Number 8 while outside centre Isaiah Huet bagged three tries and broke the line repeatedly with his searching runs.
The teams exchanged pleasantries and gifts ahead of a much-needed meal. A feature of the presentations was the presentation of the Royal Australian Military shield to the Academy that symbolized the strong military ties our countries exhibit.
The Indigenous team plays their second tour match in Portland Maine on Wednesday evening ahead of their continuing journey into Eastern Canada.
The Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team vs. Army West Point: 1 Kai Lowah (c) 2 Jerome Wills 3 Liam Bilston 4 Braeden Smith 5 Elliot Thompson 6 Josef Wilson 7 Peter Fitzsimmons (VC) 8 Leonard Snowball 9 Ethan Wikaria-Noosa 10 Aaron Williams 11 Matt Saul 12 Anthony Fuller 13 Isaiah Huet-Emerald 14 Corbin Walters 15 Deon Evans-Ao 16 Connor Lynch 17 Aaron Brown 18 Mitchell Hudson 19 Daniel Rosendale 20 Bryce Adams 21 Sayman Shepperd 22 David Green 23 Ruben House 24 Aiden Wikaria 25 Josh Smith 26 Tiriwa Gristwood
The Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team Tour Preview Article
- Sep. 18 vs. Army West Point at U.S. Military Academy- W 72-19
- Sep. 19 vs. Portland RFC in Portland, Maine
- 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
Indigenous Australian Invitational Rugby Team Photos – New York City