Super Rugby


GPS book first grand final appearance since 2013

GPS book their place in the grand final with win over UQ

GPS booked their place in the grand final with a 42-24 win over University of Queensland at Ballymore on Sunday.

The Gallopers outscored the Heavies five tries to four as outside centre Maaloga Konelio crossed for a double.

Radike Samo was awarded the True Protein High Performer of the Round with a man-of-the-match performance. He started at lock but finished the game at Number 8 and put the nail in the coffin with final try of the match.

“This is a semi-final. In these important games you play like you don’t have a second chance and I really enjoyed that,” Samo said.

“I liked getting back to Number 8. Most of the year I’ve been playing at lock but I’ll do what is needed for the team and it’s great to be playing with a much younger squad.”

Just one minute into the match a loose pass was pounced on by Alex Horan who raced away to score under the posts for the first try of the match.

After 22 minutes, GPS’ outside centre Maaloga Konelio stepped off the left foot and crashed over to level the scores at 7-all after AJ Alatimu nailed the conversion.

Minutes later, Alatimu slotted a penalty goal to hand the Gallopers a 10-7 lead.

Chris Kuridrani tapped back a Nick Frisby box kick and then re-appeared in support to score in the corner for the Gallopers.

Right on the cusp of half time, University of Queensland replacement prop Reuben Leilua burrowed his way over to reduce GPS’ lead to five points.

After the break, Alatimu slotted another penalty goal to hand the Gallopers a 20-12 lead.

James Dalgleish made a half break and then delivered a deft offload to Nathan Russell who found the try line to reduce GPS’ lead to 20-17.

A set-piece move in the 50th minute saw Konelio carry the ball through two defenders and cross for the Gallopers third try.

Minutes later, UQ built pressure in GPS red zone and Leilua scored a pick and drive try to make it a one-point ball game.

Alatimu hit back with a penalty goal minutes later to extend GPS’ lead to 28-24.

With 12 minutes remaining, UQ were on the attack but Kuridrani swooped on a loose pass and ran 60 metres before popping the ball back inside for Todd Winkley to streak in for the Gallopers fourth try.

Samo barged his way over from close range in the dying stages to seal the win for the Gallopers who will now have two weeks to prepare for the grand final on August 20.

GPS 42 (Maaloga Konelio 2, Chris Kuridrani, Todd Winkley, Radike Samo tries; AJ Alatimu 4 cons; Alatimu 3 pen) defeated University of Queensland 24 (Alex Horan, Reuben Leilua 2, Nathan Russell tries; James Dalgleish 2 con)

Sunnybank keep their season alive

Sunnybank secured a last gasp 24-22 win over Wests in the minor semi-final to keep their 2017 season alive.

The Dragons trailed by five after the full-time siren had sounded before a dominant five-metre scrum saw Chazz Mahina pick up the ball and dot down for the match-winning try that was converted by Jake Strachan.

Sunnybank’ inside centre Isaac Lucas was awarded the man-of-the-match as both sides crossed for three tries each.

Three minutes into the match, Bulldogs outside centre Larry Hermens danced his way through Sunnybank’s defence for the first try.

As the match approached the 20-minute mark, Wests regathered a box kick that led to Alec Fontalvo’s try, 12-0.

With five minutes remaining in the half, Jeffrey Faamausili drove his way over the try line for Sunnybank’s first try.

The teams headed into the sheds with Wests leading 12-7 but five minutes after the break, Byron Hutchinson slotted a penalty goal to extend the Bulldogs’ lead.

In the 53rd minute, Feao Fotuaika drove his way over from close range to make it a one-point ball game.

With 12 minutes remaining in the match. Wests’ flanker Fontalvo trucked the ball forward and relayed the ball for Hermens to scoop it up and dot down, 22-14.

Sunnybank flyhalf Jake Strachan slotted a penalty goal with six minutes remaining to make it a five-point ball game.

The decision to kick for goal proved to be a clever one because the Dragons returned to Wests’ red zone moments later before Mahina crossed for the match winner.

Sunnybank will now begin preparations for a re-match of their preliminary final clash with UQ last year. That match will kick off at Ballymore at 3:05pm on August 13.

Sunnybank 24 (Jeffrey Faamausili, Feao Fotuaika, Chazz Mahina tries; Jake Strachan 3 con; Strachan 1 pen) defeated Wests 22 (Larry Hermens 2, Alec Fontalvo tries; Byron Hutchinson 2 con; Hutchinson 1 pen)