A pristine day at St Ignatius College, Riverview provided the perfect setting for the first day of the 45th Murray’s Coaches Australian Rugby Championships.
The day started with fire seeing Queensland II’s Tom Cregan from St Philomena School end up in hospital following a nasty collision off the opening kick-off.
The day didn’t get much easier for the maroon side with NSW I putting an unanswered 27 points on the board.
NSW only held a slight ten-point lead at the break but it was clear that once they got going they were not going to be beaten.
Queensland can hold their heads high, putting a lot of pressure on a better side, though they will rue missed chances in attack.
Following the opening ‘State of Origin’ match up, Queensland I reined back some state pride finishing 36 – 20 victors over NSW II.
Before the tournament, many critics wrote off Queensland due to a lack of depth with eight of the nine GPS schools not allowing their students to participate. They certainly proved them wrong.
In a 2002, Baby Broncos like performance the battlers from Ballymore came out swinging at the Sky Blues.
Led by Jasper Mellish who put eleven points worth of kicks over the crossbar they looked strong across the park.
NSW II did put up a fight to their northern rivals though, particularly in the second stanza. They finished their day with an incredible 100m combined effort on the games last play. Max D’agostino and Lucas Vass who floated four passes back and forth for Vass to cross over at the Riverview St end.
After this, the Cavaliers Barbarians made history as they partook in their first ever match, losing narrowly to the ACT side 26 – 20.
The Barbarians stunned the Riverview crowd as they deservingly took the lead into the halftime break.
A halftime rev-up by ACT Head Coach Dan Hawke though got his team back on track as they clawed themselves into a winning position back midway through the second half.
The Barbarians attack stayed relentless but errors in handling ultimately cost them a chance at a monumental first ever Championships win.
In the final fixture of Day 1 Combined States grueled out a three-point win over Victoria in the game of the day.
Following their jersey presentation yesterday, Combined States coach Tim Sedgwick enforced their, “us against the world” mentality and it certainly payed off come the matches climax.
Victoria led for most of the match thanks to a double by winger Rupeni Niubalavu of Camberwell High School. In the dying minutes, referee Dylan Sigg, himself a former Australian Schools representative blew a penalty which was converted by Louis Werchon from 30 metres out.
Day Two of the Championships will begin at 10:00 on Thursday morning with the Cavaliers Barbarians taking on Queensland II followed by NSW II taking on their southern rivals Victoria at 11:30.
In the Championship Semi-Finals Queensland I will take on Combined States at 1:00 while NSW I will play ACT at 2:30.
New South Wales – 27
Tries: Lachlan Albert, Ben Gallacher, Jack Mossman Dan O’Brian
Conversions: Jude Gibbs, Jack Mossman
Penalties: Jude Gibbs
Queensland – 0
Queensland I – 36
Tries: Angus Sawtell, Xavier Boyle, Jonte Connolly, Jonte Connolly, Kennan Timu
Conversions: Jasper Mellish (4)
Penalties: Jasper Mellish
NSW II – 20
Tries: Nicholas Russell 12, Lucas Vass 12, Tasman Smith 11′
Conversions: Charlie Adams (2), Flynn Ian Angles-Corke
ACT – 26
Tries: Willie Delamere (2), Junior Tupou, Ted Pearson,
Cavalier Barbarians – 20
Tries: Hugo Hayman, N/A
Conversions: Hugo Hayman (2)
Victoria – 24
Tries: Rupeni Niubalavu (2), Titan Sega
Conversions: Darcy Peel (3)
Penalties: Darcy Peel
Combined States – 27
Tries: James Bragg, Norwin Latu, Harry Snook, Harry Buckley
Conversions: Harry Snook, Louis Werchon
Penalties: Louis Werchon