Down 24-6 at half time, Malta left their comeback too late with South Africa holding on for a 30-24 victory at St Marys on the 24th of June.
A tough passionate performance by both teams with big contact and end to end action.
Malta officials whilst disappointed with the result, were impressed with the outstanding debuts from the Cronin brothers Peter and Jesse.
The Rhinos are very chuffed in the feat that they Ranked 34 beat a team that Ranked 18th.
After the match, Rhinos head coach, Jon Wilson said that he was extremely proud of his players for the effort they put in and the passion and tenacity that they showed out on the field. He also mentioned the great support he received from Assistant coach Isaac Thomas and the rest of the coaching staff. Wilson said it was the best win he has been involved in , in his four years with the Rhinos .
The Rhinos lost two players for the match in the first half,being Wicus Boshoff (ankle 4th minute) and Byron Hutchinson , ruled out with HIA concussion at half time.
In addition to this, Seth Buckley (hamstring) and Chelsea Michael Adams (shoulder) shouldn’t have returned but with no other options both players returned and toughed it out.
With the Rhinos having only one player on the bench for 2nd half, the forwards played the house down with the entire pack playing big minutes.
South Africa’s scrambling defence got them over the line in front of a fast finishing Malta.
Malta were a tough, well drilled side that never gave up which was evident till the final whistle .
Africa United U18s showed their continued improvement, narrowly going down to Malta U18s in the earlier match Unavailable for the match were Rhinos regular starting prop,Shane Gillham (knee) Tweed Heads Seagulls, Mitchell Frei (Wynnum Seagulls), Brendan Frei (Wyong Roos ),
Jackson Frei (Wyong Roos), Kamren Cryer (Blacktown Workers ),Coby Thomas(Roosters ) and Eddie Proudler ( South Perth).
The South African players and management would like to thank Malta for the match and wish them all the best in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Rhinos Tries: Juan Benadie, Byron Hutchinson, Will Smith, Darren O’Donovan, Jason King
Rhinos goals : Juan Benadie 1 / 1
Johan Louw 4 / 4
Malta Tries: Zach Borg, Cameron Mazzelli, Jono Dallas 2
Malta Goals: Nathan Benson 4/4