THE NSW Country under 23s side, headlined by Group Seven's Donte Efaraimo, Nick Greenhalgh, Juvilee Samiu (all Shellharbour), Tyler Clark, Cam Vazzoler and Luke Chalker (all Kiama), have fallen in their game on their recent New Zealand tour.
After defeating the North Island Championship Team 74-6 at Puketawhero Park, Rotorua in game one of their tour, Josh Cale's side went down 17-16 to the Canterbury Bulls at Puna Wai Sports Hub in Christchurch on Saturday.
At Christchurch, the Bulls were the first to score but NSW Country hit back with a break away run for Donte Efaraimo to score.
Harry Mulligan converted to take the scores to 6-4.
Off the back of a penalty, Efaraimo barged his way over the line again to extend Country's lead 10-4.
A strong run from Josh Stuckey set up Efaraimo to bag his third try in the right hand corner and put Country in front by 10.
Mulligan converted to put Country ahead 16-4.
Zac Masters was then sent to the sin-bin in the last few minutes of the first half and the Bulls were gifted a penalty right on the half-time buzzer but Country managed to maintain their lead at the break.
Canterbury started the second half strongly with a barging try to Justin Lynch.
James Baxendale converted to take the scores to 10-6.
With eight minutes to go, the Bulls broke through some tired Country defence for Brad Campbell to score and Lynch to convert to lock the scores up at 16-all.
With less than three minutes left on the clock, Michael Butson kicked a field goal for the Bulls that saw them hold on to win 17-16.
Joining the Group Seven sextet in Caler's squad were Joe Besgrove, Jacob McCudden, Kyle Kennedy, Zac Masters, Josh Stuckey, Connor O'Beirne, Josh Patston, Harry Mulligan, Tyson Greenwood, Tony Pellow, Cooper Purcell and Mick Applebee.