Australia have got off to the best start in the New Zealand Quadrangular at Turangi. They have won their opening two games against the hosts New Zealand and the Zambian Barbarians by comfortable margins. The Barbarians, on the other hand, have struggled, being defeated in their opening two matches by the Irish Cavaliers and then by Australia. New Zealand defeated the Cavaliers when the two teams clashed on day two to mean both those sides have one win and one defeat.
The opening match of the tournament saw the Zambian Barbarians take on the Irish Cavaliers. The Irish went into an early lead but Zambia fought back and were just one goal down at the end of the 5th Chukka as the score read 11 plays 10. The next few chukkas stayed fairly even but the Cavaliers held onto their lead and widened the gap to 3 goals at the end of the 8th and final chukka to win 19-16.
In the second match New Zealand kicked off their campaign by playing Australia but it wasn’t to be the home team day as Australia lead from the start and ended up winning by 28 goals to 14. This sent up a tense encounter on day 2 when the Cavaliers took on the hosts. New Zealand needing a win to keep their hopes alive and the Irish wanting a win to try and guarantee a place in the final. New Zealand came out the faster and better team and pulled away to to a 20 – 4 lead at the end of the 4th Chukka. After that the Irish steadied the ship and fought back but the damage had already been done with the end score being 28-16 to New Zealand.
Australia ended up beating Zambian Barbarians by 29-12 on day two but they had an early scare as their ladies lost the first chukka and they found themselves 5-1 down early on in the second. However, then the double world champions got up and running and the goals started to flow. The Barbarians kept it close for another chukka and ended the third chukka 9-6 down but then Australia started to stretch their lead and the Barbarians could not live with them.
The two wins for Australia with good goal differences mean they are probably guaranteed a spot in the final regardless of what happens on the third day of play. New Zealand seem the most likely to join them there, they have to defeat the Barbarians to book their place, while the Cavaliers will have to defeat Australia by a good margin and hope that the Barbarians do them a favour by beating New Zealand. Theorectically the Cavaliers and New Zealand could both progress if they win their games by big enough margins but that seems an unlikely scenario given previous results.