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Queensland Premier Rugby heavyweights University have won their second Hospital Cup in three years after a dominant 46-20 Grand Final victory over Sunnybank at Ballymore on Sunday.
The Red Heavies proved too strong for the 2011 champions as they piled on six tries to two in a stellar effort which also saw St.George Queensland Reds playmaker Mike Harris record an impressive personal individual tally of 16 points through five conversions and two penalties.
Harris was the mastermind behind an early first half onslaught which saw University score three tries and shoot out to an early 24-3 lead, which included a double for young winger Elliott Hagen.
Hagen was joined by Matt Arvier on the scoresheet during the Students early onslaught while blindside flanker Curtis Browning, scrumhalf Will Thompson and winger Jamie-Jerry Taulagi all grabbed tries in the second half.
University lock Tim Buchanan was a worthy Tony Shaw Medallist recipient for his Best of Ground performance while Harris and Reds teammate Luke Morahan were their most dangerous attacking performers in the backs.
For Sunnybank, their points came through tries to brothers Ben and Rex Tapuai while flyhalf Dion Taumata and scrumhalf Matt Lucas added their names to the scoresheet with the boot.
The victory caps off a memorable weekend for University as they were victorious in four of their seven Grand Finals – Premier Rugby, Premier Colts, Colts 1 and Colts 2.
“It’s a great effort from the entire club,” captain James Hanson said.
“That’s not just the players but the support staff, the sponsors and everyone involved. It’s a really great environment and I can’t get enough of it.
“For Premier Grade we really gelled at the right time. We had the weekend off and we really wanted to use it to our benefit. We wanted to get better and keep improving. I think we did that and we came into the game with a lot of energy. We came out of the blocks hard and just didn’t stop.
“We’ve really put a lot of effort into our Colts in the past and have had a few years now where we’ve really dominated that level. In the past these guys would have split up but we’ve made a big effort to keep them all together to ensure we can grow as a team. We have stuck together and you can see the results.”
University coach Mick Heenan said he was thrilled with the result and for the success the club has enjoyed in 2012.
“I’ve very happy with the way the guys played and how they applied themselves to the gameplan. They were fantastic and we took our opportunities really well,” Heenan said.
“For University to win four of the seven Grand Finals we qualified in just goes to show what sort of tight culture we have here. We’ve won all Colts grades two years in a row and that augers well for the future of the club.
“That’s what we are about as a club off the field, building sustainable success. That’s what we are trying to create.”
The Dragons were first on the board through a Dion Tuamata penalty goal although it was the Students who scored the game’s opening three tries through number eight Matt Arvier and winger Elliott Hagen.
Arvier pounced in the opening 10 minutes after charging down an attempted Sunnybank clearance kick while Hagen latched on to a perfectly-weighted cross field kick from Harris to score in the left corner.
Hagen was in for the Students third try after just 20 minutes when he finished off another strong attacking movement which included a nice-timed cut-out pass from Harris to centre Luke Morahan.
Sunnybank needed to be next on the scoreboard and did just that when Ben Tapuai crashed over from close range following a rampaging run and linebreak from number eight Greg Melton and another penalty to Taumata gave the Dragons the momentum heading into halftime by scoring the final 10 points of the half.
However, the second half commenced much the same as the first, with University crossing for three early tries to give the Students an insurmountable 43-13 lead.
The first came through Browning after he touched down after a nice offload from scrumhalf Will Thompson, who himself scored before winger Jamie-Jerry Taulagi put the icing on the cake with 20 minutes remaining.
University 46 (Elliott Hagen 2; Matt Arvier, Curtis Browning, Will Thompson, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi tries; Mike Harris 5 cons, 2 pens) def Sunnybank 20 (Ben Tapuai, Rex Tapuai try; Dion Taumata con, 2 pens; Matt Lucas con)
23 FEBRUARY 2018