Super Rugby


Queensland U20s make it three-from-three with a win over NSW

The Queensland U20s have booked themselves a home Super U20s Championship Grand Final with a 36-10 victory over NSW Gen Blue. 

Held at Wests Bulldogs’ newly renovated Scifleet Stadium, the home side outscored NSW five tries to two to secure their third win of the season. The win will see the Queensland U20s host their second straight home final, details are to be confirmed. 

Queensland got off to a flying start to lead 24-5 inside the opening 30 minutes. St.George Queensland Reds loose forward Reece Hewart returned from injury to make his Queensland U20s debut, in his first game of Rugby since captaining the Australian Schoolboys in late 2015. 

Eli Pilz and Isaac Lucas also made the Queensland U20s debuts, coming off the bench for the last quarter of the match, before being joined by fellow debutants Brayden Shiller and Sean Farrell in the 70th minute.

Queensland controlled possession throughout the opening 10 minutes, showing great composure to consistently threaten NSW’s defensive line. 

The home side were eventually rewarded when hooker and West Bulldogs’ local Effie Ma’afu barged his way over with a pick and drive play to open Queensland’s account. 

The visitors responded in the 15th minute with a try to prop Harry Johnson-Holmes, reducing Queensland’s lead to two points after Theo Strang’s conversion sailed wide. 

Tony Hunt showed his ability to keep the ball alive in contact, offloading to number eight Hewat who fell just short of the try line to hand Queensland a brilliant attacking opportunity. 
Flyhalf Hamish Stewart dummied, jagged off the right foot and went through untouched to extend Queensland’s lead to nine points. 

A dominant tackle from flanker Liam Wright gave Harry Nucifora a long-range penalty goal opportunity and the scrumhalf had no problem splitting the uprights. 

Hunt continued to threaten in the middle of the field offloading to his centre partner Dylan Riley who raced away for Queensland’s third try. 

NSW had attacking opportunities late in the first half but Queensland scrambled well in defence to protect a 24-5 lead as the teams headed into the sheds. 

The match turned into an arm wrestle after half-time as handling errors and ill-discipline crept into both sides’ game. 

The game was broken open by Hunt who again bent the defensive line before finding his flyhalf outside of him, Steward showed great footwork to beat the last line of defence before dotting down. 

With three minutes left in the match NSW crossed for a late try through replacement centre Kepu Lokotui, reducing Queensland’s lead to 19 points. 

Hunt put the nail in the coffin for Queensland, bursting his way through NSW’s defence from first receiver off a scrum inside NSW’s 22. 

Assitant coach and former Wests great Paul Carozza said: “We’re really pleased with the teams’ effort and application today. They played a hard physical game and any win over NSW is one to celebrate. 

“In saying that we have a big challenge ahead of us in Canberra next week and we still have areas of our game to improve. It’s important for the squad to stay focused as we lead into our final round game against the Brumbies.” 

The Queensland U20s travel to Canberra next weekend to face the Brumbies Colts at Portsea Oval on Sunday, 26 March. Kick-off at 1:00PM AEST. 

Queensland U20s Reds 36 (Effie Ma’afu, Hamish Stewart 2, Dylan Riley, Tony Hunt tries; Harry Nucifora 3, Stewart 1 cons, Nucifora 1 pen) defeated NSW Gen Blue 10 (Harry Johnson-Holmes, Lepu Lokoui tries;) at Scifleet Stadium on Saturday 18 March, 2017.

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