The New Zealand Kiwis have taken out the inaugural Pacific Cup final after keeping the Kangaroos scoreless 30-0 to orchestrate an international upset in Hamilton on Saturday.
A 12-0 scoreline had the New Zealand faithful daring to dream at halftime and the fairytale final continued as the Kiwis ran in another 18 unanswered points to hand the Kangaroos their heaviest ever defeat.
Seven days after going down to their Tasman rivals 36-18 in Melbourne, Michael Maguire’s side were all class with halves Jahrome Hughes and Dylan Brown steering the ship and wingers Ronaldo Mulitalo and Jamayne Isaako dazzling on the edges.
Held scoreless for the first time since their 2005 Tri-Nations final defeat to New Zealand, the Kangaroos costs themselves any chance to break down the Kiwis’ early momentum with 50 missed tackles and 11 errors cruelling any chances of a comeback at FMG Stadium Waikato.
After several Kangaroos errors gifted his side early possession, winger Mulitalo started and finished it for the Kiwis opening try, making a long-range break before finishing a left side sweep later in the set. Isaako’s conversion made it 6-0 after 16 minutes.
The Kangaroos looked to strike back in the 25th minute when Daly Cherry-Evans looped a long ball to the right but Mulitalo produced an incredible shot to deny Valentine Holmes an opportunity to cross the line.
The Kiwis continued with their early momentum and were rewarded in the 35th minute, with their star-studded spine linking up to set up an airborne Isaako on the right and extend their lead 12-0 at the break.
Some early mistakes in the second half heaped more pressure on the Kangaroos and the Kiwi wingers pounced again with a Hughes cut out pass opening the door for Isaako to bag a double after another aerial finish in the corner.
New Zealand were on their way to a Pacific Championship trophy with Brown’s quick hands putting Timoko in space to score his first international try.
With eight minutes remaining New Zealand were able to put the game away with Griffin Neame tearing through the Kangaroos line to score under the posts and put the finishing touches on their Pacific Cup victory.