31 Oct 2016

Sport: Niue overcome the elements to notch win on African soil

12:39 pm on 31 October 2016

The Niue rugby league team are feeling the effects of a bruising test victory on African soil.

The Rock conceded two early tries but recovered to overrun South Africa 50-22 in Pretoria at the weekend.

Head coach Brendan Perenara said a lot has changed since the team played 18 months ago in Sydney, when Niue prevailed 48-4.

He said, despite an impressive victory on paper, adjusting to life on tour, local referees and playing at altitude wasn't easy.

"I don't think the score tells it all. The game was pretty hard - they has us in probably the first half overall, they had it over us but we ended up getting through once we started getting our sets into attack," he said.

"We thought we were acclimatised by the time we got to the fifth day of the test match...but as we saw on the actual game the guys were blowing hard in the first half so we had to have drinks breaks, it was like 37 degrees over here playing in this heat."

"We've got a couple of injuries and niggles - they're in rehab now. It looks like we'll have a tough one with those getting them back on the field but hopefully they'll come through."

The Niue squad in training before leaving for South Africa.

Team Niue pose in training. Photo: Facebook / Niue Rugby League

Brendan Perenara said this was the first big overseas tour for the Niue team and it was a learning experience for the players and staff coming up against a more seasoned Rhinos outfit.

"They only had five from their last game, 2015...the team was a bit more experienced this time and with them having the home advantage which you could see on the score - they've scored more tries - and they had us 12-0 in the first ten minutes too...the boys dug deep and started getting their sets together but it was pretty tight the whole game," he said.

The second test is also in Pretoria on Thursday morning.