Super Rugby


Queensland Pathway success shines light on future stars

Queensland Pathway teams delivered a weekend of success to the sunshine state across eight different national tournaments.

From U15 level right through to elite senior players competing in the National Rugby Championship, it proved a feast of football for Queensland Rugby fans.

It all kicked off on Friday afternoon in an-all Queensland final of the inaugural U19 Rugby Championship in Canberra.

After both going through the pool stages undefeated, Brisbane City and Queensland Country progressed to the decider, but it was City who were crowned champions – downing Country 40-7 in a clinical display at Viking Park.

Brisbane City Head Coach, Damon Virtue said: “This is an awesome win for the boys and a testament to all the work behind the scenes of both coaching staff and management for getting this tournament off the ground.

“Right from the outset we’ve had a really great attitude and commitment from the boys throughout the tournament and even beforehand at the training camps and ultimately that’s culminated in their success today,” Virtue added.

City’s victory means a Queensland team has now won the title for a third straight year, following Queensland’s Super U20s dominance. which saw them claim back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.

From the previous two Super U20’s titles, a number of Queensland players have since progressed through the Pathway system to make their St.George Queensland Reds debut, including Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Hamish Stewart, Harry Hockings, Harry Hoopert and Angus Blyth.

The next generation of Queensland women were on show at Bond University on the Gold Coast, with the QRU Junior Girls Sevens taking place across Thursday and Friday, prior to the penultimate round of the AON Uni Sevens Series. 

For the second straight year, the Gold Coast Cyclones U15s and U17s claimed both titles at the Junior State Championships, while Griffith won their second AON Uni Sevens title in as many weeks.

Their 31-0 victory over Sydney Uni firmly pushed them to the top of the competition ladder, with University of Queensland sitting third ahead of the final round in Adelaide. 

There was also plenty of men’s sevens action happening back in Brisbane, as Bond University clinched the second leg of the Queensland Premier Rugby 7s tournament.

After finishing ninth at the last event – the Bull Sharks defeated Souths 21-12 in the Cup final, as defending champions Sunnybank finished third with a 24-7 win over Norths.

Australian Men’s Sevens head coach Tim Walsh has attended both Premier Rugby 7s events that have been held at UQ and Brothers, and has been impressed with the level of talent on show. 

“This is a landmark tournament for Sevens in this Country, hopefully other states follow suit,” said Walsh. 

“To see players in the environment of Sevens, it’s a brutal game, playing five games in one day you can see their resilience and their intelligence to make decisions under pressure.” 

It truly was a super Saturday, with a further three separate tournaments taking place at Ballymore and again Queenslanders took centre stage.

Queensland won the double in the two junior national finals being played after twice disposing of their southern rivals from New South Wales.

Queensland Red defeated New South Wales Gen Blue 17-5 in the Junior Gold Cup decider, while Queensland cruised to a 41-12 victory over New South Wales in the U16 National Championship final.

Later in the afternoon, eight Queensland players were amongst the 23 in the Australian Schools side who narrowly went down to New Zealand Schools in a rain-affected slugfest.

St. Joseph’s Nudgee College product Reesjan Pasitoa converted one of Australia’s two tries in the 24-12 defeat at Ballymore.

Bond University Queensland Country completed a massive Saturday of Rugby after they all-but sealed their place in this year’s NRC finals.

The reigning champions returned to the winner’s circle with a dominant 64-24 bonus-point victory over the Sydney Rays at Bond University on the Gold Coast.

Queensland Country Head Coach Rod Seib said: “It’s great to see the team back in the winner’s circle. We spoke about the opportunity the team had heading into today’s game to control their own destiny with regards to finals, and the group delivered with a bonus point win. 

“It was great to combine our match today with the AON Uni 7s at Bond, giving the local Gold Coast Rugby community the chance to see some of the best emerging men’s and women’s talent in action.” 

McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City made it two wins for Queensland sides against New South Wales opponents, with a thrilling come-from-behind 28-27 victory against NSW Country on Sunday afternoon.

The one-point win keeps City’s finals hopes alive with Sunday’s Round 7 fixture against the fourth-placed Canberra Vikings at Easts Rugby Club now set to determine the competition’s final playoff spot.

Brisbane City Head Coach Mick Heenan said: “To an extent we’re disappointed we weren’t able to take more of the opportunities today, but all we needed to do was win and we did that, so now we move forward.

“Next week is effectively a semi-final for us. You know it’s great to still be alive in the competition.” 

Across the various tournaments, Queensland players heeded Brad Thorn and the QRU’s call to arms after the St.George Queensland Reds announced at the QRU’s Long Lunch at Brisbane City Hall on Friday afternoon that they will return to maroon fulltime for the 2019 Super Rugby season.

Currently on the comeback trail from injury with Brisbane City, Reds centre Samu Kerevi said: “The maroon jersey is part of the history we play with but it’s time for us, as a squad, to put our own legacy to it.

“To understand the history is one of those little one per-centers that can drive us in hard times in games.”

To cap it off on Sunday morning, Queensland Pathway product Izack Rodda’s charge-down and resulting try sparked a second-half Australian resurgence in the Wallabies’ 45-34 win over Argentina in Salta.

All in all, it was a great weekend for Rugby in Queensland.

Rugby Traveller