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Australian Schoolboys captain and Queenslander Curtis Browning has guided his team to an inspiring 26-19 come-from-behind victory over New Zealand Schools in a thrilling contest at Knox Grammar School in Sydney on Saturday.
Browning, now in his third year with Australian Schools, was inspirational in scoring one of three Australia tries and steering his side back from an early 13-3 deficit.
The towering lock was responsible for Australia’s opening five-pointer and, combined with two penalty goals to Jack Debreczeni in the first half, saw Australia remain in the contest with the margin just two points at the break.
The Australians grabbed their first lead of the encounter through a try to centre Jim Stewart although it was short-lived with two penalty goals putting the Kiwis ahead 19-16 heading into the concluding stages.
The three point margin made for a grandstand finish and a mistake from New Zealand at the kickoff was capitalised on with reserve Australia flyhalf Jake McIntyre scoring the match winning try.
The visitors threw everything at their opponents in the final moments although courageous defence by the Australians and a further penalty goal brought the final score to 26-19.
Browning was one of eight Queenslanders in coach Steve Phillpotts’ squad and is the third-most capped Australian Schoolboy in history, behind new 2012 St.George Queensland Reds signing Chris F’Sautia (hamstring) and Hugh Roach.
It was an important victory for the Australians following their most recent loss to England and Australia A’s heavy 53-11 defeat only four days earlier against the Kiwis.
Australia will be hoping the victory is a sign of things to come with the Wallabies set to face their toughest test of the Rugby World Cup when they square off against New Zealand in a mouth-watering Semi-Final matchup in Auckland on Sunday.
AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLBOYS 26 (Curtis Browning, Jim Stewart, Jake McIntyre tries; Jack Debreczeni 2 penalties; Jack McIntyre penalty, conversion) def NEW ZEALAND SECONDARY SCHOOLS 19 (Ngani Laumape try; Simon Hickey 4 penalties, conversion)
Australia Schools Lineup
25 FEBRUARY 2017