Close to gold for Southlanders at Touch Youth World Cup
It was oh so close to gold for Southlanders Dennis Thompson and Brad Kooman at the Touch Youth World Cup.
Thompson, who was head coach of the NZ under-20 mixed side and Kooman, who was playing, made it all the way to the final of the tournament which was held in Kuala Lumpur.
Six grades were contested at the 2018 edition of the Youth World Cup, which was last held in 2005. As expected New Zealand and Australia dominated proceedings across the under-18 and under-20 competition, which led to the Trans-Tasman rivals battling it out in six finals on Sunday.
The New Zealand under-20 mixed side enjoyed a successful round robin campaign, which included a 6-3 win over Australia. The win was even for more special for the fact it was only one of two wins New Zealand enjoyed against Australia across the entire tournament.
Brad Kooman said it was a better mindset which got them over the line against the arch rival.
“I think it was just our attitude and how we played against them, we didn’t let off like we did in the first game, we started off a lot better than we did last time.”
Kooman enjoyed an impressive tournament on the try scoring front dotting down for 14 tries over the four-day tournament.
The final was a tight affair with tries going both ways early on. Due to the heat, the finals were played in quarters for safety reasons with temperatures in of excess of 35 degrees. New Zealand ended up going down gallantly 9-6 in what was a closely fought battle.
In the other grades it was one-way traffic with Australia proving they are the number one Touch nation in the world winning all six grades and doing so in dominant fashion.
For Southland’s Brad Kooman the tournament was an eye-opening experience.
“It’s probably felt a little harder than a normal nationals due to the heat.”
Kooman and Thompson will now head home with a silver medal and rest up for a couple of weeks before the touch season get underway in October.