30 July 2008

A Polynesian Weekend

We spent Thursday and Friday at the Samoan Cultural Celebration. Then went to a baby blessing on Sunday of our Friends Ben and Lini. Lots and Lots of Polynesian food. We really miss all of our friends and family in Samoa!

23 July 2008

It is Official we own a Home!!!!



Financing went through yesterday and we close on the 7th of August!!!!

Ari's Big Luau Performance

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The Hukilau


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Ala Moana Annie


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Otea


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E Piko

16 July 2008

The Corn Dog Song



Anyone who knows me very well knows that I Love Corn Dogs! This song sums it all up.

13 July 2008

Happiness

If you understand the great plan of happiness and follow it, what goes on in the world will not determine your happiness.-Boyd K. Packer

Creativity

Thus creativity involves both a process and a result. It springs out of our seeing possibilities we have not seen before, seeing connections between patches of truth and beauty, and responding to them in ways we have not done before. Feelings that lead to poetry, mental imagery that leads to painting, and pondering that gives birth to prose are but examples.

Creativity, therefore, is not simply innovation but organization. Self-discipline is required as part and parcel of that self-discovery which is paralleled by the discovery of the universes, vast and small, of which we are a part.

Gospel gladness can give us a precious perspective about all these things and can spur us on to share that beauty which our Father in Heaven helps us to create. It is a process that should not trouble itself overmuch, initially, with questions of originality and utility but, rather, with quality and excellence. ~ Neal A. Maxwell

Ari's 4th Birthday July 7th, 2008






Ari dancing in Layton Park on the 4th of July

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Ari had her first siva dance performance at Layton Park during there 4th of July celebrations. It was really cute. Her big performance is July 19th at the Layton Park amphitheater. There is going to be food and dancing, and it is open to the public. I would love to see some of you there. Contact me for tickets, or just come and buy them there.


Ari in her Tahitian costume!



Getting ready to do the hukilau.



Grandma Cathy, Grandpa Barry, Ariana, Grandma Houston, and Kel at the park.

12 July 2008

All Blacks coaches say they can't fault the effort

Worrying signs of weakness, or just a blip on the graph? The All Blacks coaches were definitely taking the glass half-full approach to their historic, and last-gasp, Saturday night defeat to the Springboks at Carisbrook.

After a 30-28 Tri-Nations win by the South Africans that not only broke a decade-long drought on New Zealand soil, but finally ended the New Zealanders' world record run of victories at home, it might have been easy for the doubts to start creeping in.

After all the All Blacks were outplayed up front, out-executed when it mattered most and found out in terms of the hard edge required to get home in a match of this intensity. It was fine line stuff, with halfback Ricky Januarie's moment of brilliance five minutes from the end the difference, but there was no doubting that Graham Henry's men should have done better with a five-point lead, a man up and just a half-dozen minutes remaining.

When they had to, the Boks found the response they needed. Januarie sold his dummy, found the All Black ruck defence wanting and scooted clear for the try that sealed a famous victory for a side which raised the metaphorical two fingers to their detractors.

It was a harsh call later, too, when All Blacks skipper Rodney So'oialo shrugged off the Januarie stroke of brilliance as "a lucky bounce" that "stole the game away from us". It was more than that. Much more.

It was a champion side digging deep when they had to, finding the right response in the face of adversity. Their skipper, Victor Matfield, had been despatched just moments earlier to the sinbin. Heads could have dropped. But they didn't and Peter de Villiers' controversial halfback selection stepped up and repaid his coach's faith in the best possible manner.

But still the All Blacks coaches were hammering a positive message out of a negative result. The signs, they reckoned, were good that this young pack is building the sort of experience that will bring the rewards down the track. Panic buttons were nowhere near to being depressed.

"It was a massive effort we put in in that second half and we kept going right to the end," said assistant coach Wayne Smith. "Rugby's like that sometimes - you can't quite hold on. They made a brilliant play right at the end, an individual play and came out with the spoils.

"But you couldn't ask any more from young fellows in terms of effort, heart and trying to play the game."

But, surely, in the end the inexperience up front finally cost the All Blacks. That second row that played the last 60 minutes featured a debutant (Kevin O'Neill off the bench) and a fellow making his first test start (Anthony Boric). Against Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha, the world's best (and meanest) second-row tandem.

The loose trio experiment of continuing to plough on without a specialist No 7 finally bit the All Blacks on the bum, too. So'oialo toiled, Adam Thomson had moments of promise and Jerome Kaino was unable to leave his imprint on the game this week. The Boks won the loosie battle hands-down.

Smith conceded inexperience and some "silly" second-half penalties counted against the All Blacks. "But that's test match rugby. You've got young men under intense pressure. I think they fronted and played pretty well. Someone's got to win."

Asked if they should have closed the match down better once Matfield was yellow-carded, Smith measured his response.

"You'd like to be able shut them down, but they got a couple of bounces, scrambled ball away, and all of a sudden you're under a bit of pressure, and the halfback made a dummy that was a really good play."

And at the end, with Dan Carter unable to be set up for the dropped goal he was clearly keen to take? Says Smith: "We got caught in places with that pick and go and we were always struggling. You're not going to make yardage against them in there. We probably lost our chance to take the droppie a wee bit earlier.

"We didn't have a great first half but in the second half I was really proud of them. I thought we implemented what we wanted, had a real crack at them, and we could have won it."

There were words of respect, too, for a Boks side that responded magnificently after a pretty average effort seven days earlier.

"You don't do what they did last year as a fluke," noted Smith. "They're a good team, and we never have an easy match against them, World Cup holders or not. It's always competitive. We should have lost down here in '05, but we got the win with three minutes to go. Today they did it."

Smith, who said the All Blacks had no beef with the officiating of whistle-happy rookie ref Mat Goddard, also gave his backline the thumbs-up, despite the fact that in back-to-back tests against the Boks they haven't been able to crack the resolute South African defence.

"I think the backline played well," said a defiant Smith. "There were a few linebreaks. Ma'a [Nonu] made about three, Mils [Muliaina] made about three, and Rudi Wulf made about three. They performed well, hit the right areas, and created some problems. We'll look at the tape and make some better assessments but my casual eye on the backs was that they performed well and had a real crack at them."

Head coach Graham Henry also refused to condemn his side for its inability to nail a result in the closing minutes.

"We would have wanted to have batted out time well, but it didn't quite happen. We made a defensive error around the ruck and Ricky Januaruie took advantage of that.

"We tried to get in position to pull it out of the fire over the last minute or two, but a dropped goal 45m out is a pretty big ask for anybody, even someone of Dan Carter's status.

"I think the guys have the right recipe, it's just difficult putting that into action at times."

Henry also felt the All Blacks' second-half effort would have been good enough to secure a victory 90 percent of the time.

"I thought [the All Blacks] played some superb football in that second half, probably good enough to win it nine times out of 10.

"We had a lot of inexperienced guys out there who gave their guts. I've got a huge amount of respect for what they did. They'll grow from that experience.

"We had one lock playing his first test match as a starter, another guy came on after 20 minutes to play his first test match, and they were playing the two most experienced locks in the world.

"I thought they did very well. The lineout obviously needs a bit of attention. But they're the best combination in world rugby in the middle row, so it was a big learning curve for guys who haven't played any test match football."

That has to be the prevailing message for an All Blacks side that has at last been exposed as vulnerable. They must learn from this bitter experience. And quick. The Wallabies loom in a fortnight and suddenly look a formidable prospect too.

South Africa ends 87-year hoodoo

South Africa broke an 87-year hoodoo at Dunedin's Carisbrook when taking a thrilling 30-28 win over the All Blacks in the second Philips Tri Nations Test. It also ended a 30-Test home winning sequence for the All Blacks.

The All Blacks looked to steal a win with a dropped goal to first five-eighths Dan Carter in the last act of the game but the build-up was too pronounced and his attempt was greeted by a South African reception committee and was charged down.

It was a Test of too many errors, tactical and handling, to be called a classic but it had plenty of excitement nonetheless.

South Africa played like a World Cup champion and shut down several attacking initiatives, especially during a torrid second half, from the All Blacks.

While the home team lost it could feel well satisfied at its level of competitiveness for a side rebuilding and it contributed to an outstanding display despite being without its captain Richie McCaw and having lost the two pillars of its forward pack, locks Brad Thorn to suspension and Ali Williams to injury 28 minutes into the game.

Veteran South African locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha, and replacement Andries Bekker, would not have believed inexperienced rivals Anthony Boric and Kevin O'Neill could step up in such fine fashion.

Matfield's departure to the sin bin for a high tackle on replacement No. 8 Sione Lauaki came after a last warning had been issued to both teams. However, that resulted in some inspired play from halfback Enrico Januarie who broke from a ruck past Lauaki and prop Neemia Tialata to run, chip ahead and regather to claim the ball with Francois Steyn's conversion giving South Africa a 30-28 lead.

Lauaki marked his arrival with a superb try after 54 minutes. On the left wing Rudi Wulf, who had several penetrating runs, did a fine job keeping ball in the field and setting in train a series of moves which saw captain and flanker Rodney So'oialo take the ball upfield.

It was cleared to halfback Andrew Ellis. He passed to centre Conrad Smith who linked with Lauaki who rampaged his way over to score and give the All Blacks a 22-17 lead after Carter's conversion.

It seemed to be the lift that New Zealand had needed after its failure to make ground earlier in the game.

New Zealand started the game in attacking mode but the loss of lock Ali Williams after a head clash with South African flanker Schalk Burger which left him dazed and with an aggravation of his ankle injury upset the side's momentum.

However, a strong finish to the half with good running by fullback Mils Muliaina allowed Carter to pull back the margin to only two points.

Forecast rain hadn't arrived by kick-off and the conditions were the best for a home Test this season.

Goddard's whistle dominated the first quarter as he attempted to quickly stamp out anything resembling off the ball play.

South Africa's try followed a break which saw second five-eighths Jean de Villiers in the clear but Pietersen was bundled into touch five metres out. New Zealand failed to control the lineout and a five-metre scrum was called. The blindside move was played at Pietersen was able to go over in the corner.

New Zealand showed much more attacking presence in the third quarter but found it hard to penetrate the consistent Springbok defence - until Lauaki's arrival however.

Scorers:

South Africa 30 (JP Pietersen, Enrico Januarie tries; Francois Steyn con; Percy Montgomery 3 pen; Butch James pen, dropped goal) New Zealand 28 (Sione Lauaki try; Dan Carter con, 5 pen,dropped goal). HT: 17-15

11 July 2008

Our New House

We found a house in Roy. We are going to close on it August 7th!!!!!

The All Blacks 2008

07 July 2008

Happy hooker Hore finally feeling like the real deal

Tough as nails hooker Andrew Hore has stitched together 29 test appearances over seven long seasons. But he reckons he's only just starting to feel like an All Black as he buries his head into this absorbing Tri-Nations series.

Hore has played all the major nations since breaking into the New Zealand team on the end of year tour in 2002.

But he has lived in the shadow of Anton Oliver and Keven Mealamu for so long that it's only now he feels like he is making his own mark in the treasured No 2 jersey.

The 29-year-old Taranaki and Hurricanes rake has started every test this season and it's getting this consistent game time that is making him finally feel like the real deal.

He was in the thick of the action in a torrid test against the Springboks in Wellington last weekend but he came away grinning and reckoned it was certainly one of his more satisfying performances.

"To knock off the world champs ... it's not a bad start to the Tri-Nations," he told RugbyHeaven.

We ask the hooker with a knack for try-scoring if he's in the best form of his career and the answer is as close to an affirmative as you'll get from a member of the front row club.

"Yeah, its going alright. I'm getting starts so I must be doing something right. I'm just happy where my rugby is at and things are going pretty well," said Hore who has been on the bench 19 times during his career.

"I have been chipping away in the All Blacks for a few years. Getting a few starts in a row with a full team around is pretty pleasing. I'm starting to feel like a real All Black. I'm really enjoying it."

It's been a tough time to be a tight forward recently. The Irish arrived with a pack built around the Munster forwards who had dominated the European club scene. The English came with their usual strut up front and of course the Boks give nothing away when it comes to exchanges in the dark areas of test rugby.

Some of the South African tactics have been questioned, even by All Blacks coach Graham Henry. But you don't find too many complaints from the guys who are doing the fronting up. Hore shrugs off the bumps and bruises and that's always easier when you're in teh winner's circle.

Surprisingly Hore said there was little difference between the physical intensity of the English and the Boks. The English, he added, were helped by the old rules in that area and there is little doubt that the All Blacks believe the ELVs are an asset to their fast-paced game they are keen to employ against South Africa.

"Yes, they (English and South African forwards) are very similar. They like to dominate, they are reasonably keen on smashing you around a bit.

"The English had more chance because you could pile into rucks whereas with these new rules you don't smash in there. But in saying that if the Boks hit you, you feel it. It's good contact sport."

Which is a polite way of saying that at this level, you give as good as you get. That was certainly the case last Saturday night in Wellington where there were frequent skirmishes up front in a forwards contest that had huge feeling to it.

Many critics and fans said the Cake Tin encounter had an old-school style to it when it came to the forward exchanges.

But, of course, for a hooker you measure your match on the set pieces as much as anything. Hore came away with a decent pass mark although there were some inconsistencies with both the scrums and the lineouts.

"We were happy with the scrums. We started alright and definitely came back towards the end too. We have a few things to work on but it was definitely a good start," he said.

"The lineouts were a bit the same ... we started alright but towards the end there were a couple of missed throws and a few communication problems. So we will look to sort that out in Dunedin too."

Hore admitted throwing into a lineout patrolled by monster South African locks Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha had its challenges.

"Looking at Bakkies, he's pretty intimidating most times. They have a good lineout but we have one too. We just have to back ourselves and go in with a bit of confidence that we can win our own ball."

Hore has kept Mealamu on the bench so far with the All Blacks preferring to use the mix of Hore's grunt and grind to start with before introducing Mealamu's impact qualities.

Forwards coach Steve Hansen admits it's a tough call and one where the All Blacks would lose little or nothing if they went the other way.

It will be interesting to see how they approach the rematch with the Springboks at Carisbrook.

There will be one certain change in the tight five with Anthony Boric expected to start for the suspended Brad Thorn.

But will they shuffle the front row? They will be monitoring the recovery of their men from the engine room in Wellington. But they will also be mindful that after this test they have a week off before taking on the Wallabies in Sydney.

06 July 2008

Pacific Nations Cup: Samoa beat Japan 37-31

Samoa scored five tries to four to beat Japan 37-31 in a thrilling finale to their campaigns in the Pacific Nations Cup rugby tournament on Saturday.

Both teams entered the match promising to run the ball at every opportunity and were true to their word, matching each other almost try for try in the match at Apia Park.

The teams went to halftime locked at 17-17 but Samoa eked out a small advantage in the second half in a skillful and fast-paced match.

The result lifted Samoa to third and Japan to fifth place in the six-nation competition. Tonga, which beat Fiji Saturday for their first win of the tournament, still finished in last place while Fiji dropped back to fourth.

Samoa's tries on Saturday went to veteran loose-forward Semo Sititi, Loleni Tafunai, Heroshi Tea, Anitelea Tuilagi and James Johnson while Gavin Williams, son of former All Black Bryan Williams, kicked three conversions and two penalties.

Japan scored tries through Hare Makiri, winger Bryce Robins, Hirotoki Onozawa and Takashi Kikutani. James Arlidge converted all four tries and kicked a penalty.

___

Scores:

Samoa 37 (Semo Sititi, Loleni Tafunai, Heroshi Tea, Anitelea Tuilagi, James Johnston tries; Gavin Williams 3 conversions, 2 penalties), Japan 31 (Hare Makiri, Bryce Robins, Hirotoki Onozawa, Takashi Kikutani tries; James Arlidge 4 conversions, penalty)

Late try seals Pacific Nations Cup for Maori

New Zealand Maori scored a late try to snatch a dramatic 21-18 win over Australia A in Sydney and claim the IRB Pacific Nations Cup.

Trailing 14-18 with three minutes left, the Maori engineered a superb try down the right side with a Tamati Ellison break finished off by big loose forward Thomas Waldrom.

Piri Weepu converted from wide out.

But there was still some anxious moments when Australia A were awarded a penalty after the hooter had sounded. But Wallabies utility Mark Gerrard came up just short with his 45m attempt and New Zealand Maori claimed another famous win.

Two points behind the Austraians in the championship going into this final round, the Maori had to win the match to take the title and keep New Zealand's proud record in the tournament going after the Junior All Blacks had won the previous titles.

Had the match finished in a draw, Australia A would have won the title because they had banked 19 points from their previous four matches to the 17 of New Zealand Maori and had a far superior points differential.

Two tries from league convert Timana Tahu appeared to have placed Australia A on track to condemn New Zealand Maori to defeat.

However, co-captain Tamati Ellison atoned for some earlier defensive lapses on Tahu to set up the matchwinning score when he darted down the right flank before inpassing to Waldrom to surge over.

New Zealand Maori led 14-7 at halftime thanks to tries to Tanerau Latimer and Liam Messam before Australia A regained the ascendancy until the dying stages.

Australia A 18: Timana Tahu 2 tries; Mark Gerrard 2 pen, Daniel Halangahu con.

New Zealand Maori 21: Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Thomas Waldrom tries; Piri Weepu 2 con, Callum Bruce con.

05 July 2008

Tonga sign off with first victory

Tonga finished their IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2008 campaign on a high by defeating Fiji 27-16 at Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku’alofa on Saturday, securing their first win of the season to the delight of the watching King Taufa’ahu Tupou V of Tonga.

The Tongans had lost on the road to New Zealand Maori (20-9), Japan (35-13) and Australia A (90-7) before collecting a first bonus point in losing 20-15 to Samoa last weekend, but they had never lost to Fiji since the PNC began in 2006.

Both sides made their intentions clear early on with a hard and fast start to what was an entertaining and heart-stopping match, Fiji enjoying the wealth of early possession and perhaps ruing their failure to score a try or two in the opening 15 minutes.

Tonga dug deep and seized their first real opportunity when their powerhouse forward pack drove on and returned to halfway with a try for captain and flanker Nili Latu, one of his side’s stars at Rugby World Cup 2007.

Fiji did play their running game and continued to punch holes in the centres, although this flair caused the home crowd to go wild and produce even more noise when a robust Tongan ended the movement with a great tackle.

The home side seemed to get more bulletproof as the game went on, the chance to impress on home soil kept them charging and in the end Tonga were simply too strong, their impressive pack laying the platform for the victory.

Epeli Taione caught the eye in the centre, carving up the metres to earn his reward with a late try to put the gloss on a Tongan victory that was followed by scenes of dancing and hugging as the crowd joined their heroes on the pitch in celebration.

The final round of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2008 continues with Samoa entertaining Japan at Apia Park on Saturday before Australia A and New Zealand Maori clash in Sydney to determine who gets their hands on the silverware.

Match details:

Tonga: 1. Semisi Telefoni 2. Ephraim Taukafa 3. Kisi Pulu 4. Milton Ngauamo 5. Paino Hehea 6. Hale T Pole 7. Nili Latu (Captain) 8. Samiu Vahafolau 9. Enele Taufa 10. Pierre Hola 11. Sukanaivalu Hufanga 12. Epeli Taione 13. Hudson Tonga'uiha 14. Samisoni Pone 15. Vungakoto Lilo.

Replacements: 16. Viliami Ma'asi 17. Tonga Lea'aetoa 18. Joshua Afu 19. Viliami Vaki 20. Soane Havea 21. Fangatapu 'Apikotoa 22. Seti Kiole.

Fiji: 1. Graham Dewes 2. Sunia Koto 3. Jone Taginayayusa 4. Joveci Domolailai 5. Kele Leawere (Captain) 6. Deryck Thomas 7. Aca Ratuvca 8. Netani Talei 9. Aporosa Vata Tunisau 10. Waisea Luveniyali 11. Vereniki Goneva 12. Saula Radidid 13. Sireli Nagelevuki 14. Jerry Tuilevu 15. Taniela Maravunwasawasa.

Replacements: 16 Vereniki Racagi 17. Viliame Seuseu 18 Rupeni Nasiga 19. Sailosi Rabonaqica 20. Nemia Kenatale Ranuku 21. Jonetani Ralulu 22. Iliesa Keresoni.

All Blacks' control secures victory

Another spirited All Blacks performance extended their home winning run to 30 Tests and began their Philips Tri Nations campaign with a 19-8 win over South Africa in chilly conditions at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.


Both sides scored a try apiece but again it was the goal-kicking class of first five-eighths Dan Carter that made the difference. The fact Springbok ace Butch James had few occasions to kick for goal told the story of the superior discipline of the home side.

Fearsome tackling, off-the-ball niggle and solid scrummaging, most of it from the All Blacks, encapsulated nearly 90 years of contests that have been played out between the two great rivals. But what made the effort all the more impressive for the home side was that victory was achieved in the absence of captain Richie McCaw, who had been considered an integral part of the side.

It wasn't a place for the faint-hearted but of the All Blacks, lock Ali Williams thrived in the close quarter combat with some hard work on the ball and some outstanding individual touches in the loose, including a 40m clearing kick from the All Blacks goalline when standing in at first five-eighths.

But there was no doubt the All Blacks deserved the win. They were more organised and looked better equipped to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the ELVs.

Carter had another superb game in the face of some determined South African attempts to halt him and apart from the 14 points he scored, he nearly had a try from a chargedown. It was only the speed of wing Bryan Habana in getting back in cover that denied the Kiwi ace.

South Africa scored the only try of the first half, after 36 minutes, when Habana capped fast work at a breakdown which allowed centres Adrian Jacobs and Jean de Villiers to combine and create space for Habana to put his speed to use before he aqua-planed in to score.

The South Africans did suffer the loss of their skipper and hooker John Smit at that stage when he limped off the field with a foot injury.

However, three penalty goals landed by Carter gave New Zealand a halftime advantage which reflected its superiority at scrums and in lineouts.

Four minutes into the second half a concentrated period of attack from the All Blacks saw the ball moved wide. Carter avoided South African defenders to slip a pass wide to lock Brad Thorn and he fed No.8 Jerome Kaino in for the try which Carter converted from wide out.

On a night of kick and chase both teams were guilty of flakey decisions under pressure but it was the All Blacks who chased better and who looked best equipped to take advantage of situations gained.

Kaino looked to score his second try after 57 minutes after good lead-up work by Ma'a Nonu. Carter's classy kick set it up for Kaino to run from an angle but it was ruled he was offside - a close call.


Bad weather again dominated the match in cool conditions and rain that eased slightly after the kick-off.

Carter and James traded penalty goals in the fourth and sixth minutes, James as a result of a high tackle by Adam Thomson on fullback Conrad Jantjes. A brawl broke out after Thorn dumped South African John Smith in something suspiciously close to a spear tackle.

Carter added his second after 20 minutes when Smit got offside in a lineout and added his third after 28 minutes. But it was his 70th minute goal when South Africa was offside again that put New Zealand in its comfort zone.

Scorers:

New Zealand 19 (Jerome Kaino try; Dan Carter con, 4 pen) South Africa 8 (Bryan Habana try; Butch James pen). HT: 9-8

04 July 2008

New Zealand Maori team to play Australia A

New Zealand Maori Coach Donny Stevenson and Assistant Coach Milton Haig have named the New Zealand Maori team for its final IRB Pacific Nations Cup match against Australia A at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney on Sunday 6 July.

1. Jacob Ellison
2. Aled de Malmanche
3. Bronson Murray / Ben May
4. Ross Filipo
5. Jason Eaton
6. Liam Messam (Co-captain)
7. Tanerau Latimer
8. Thomas Waldrom
9. Piri Weepu
10. Callum Bruce
11. Hosea Gear
12. Tamati Ellison (Co-captain)
13. Jason Kawau
14. Shannon Paku
15. Dwayne Sweeney

Reserves

16. Hikawera Elliot
17. Bronson Murray / Ben May
18. Hoani MacDonald
19. Scott Waldrom
20. Chris Smylie
21. Tim Bateman
22. Zar Lawrence

Ben May is suffering from flu and has been bracketed with Bronson Murray. A decision about May’s availability will be made on match day.

Stevenson said: “Sunday’s match is crucial and whoever wins it wins the tournament and we are treating it as a final. Last week’s match against Japan gave us a lot of confidence in terms of our attacking game and knowing that Australia A pride themselves on their attack as well, we expect a good game.”