Canberra’s Tuggeranong Vikings have demolished Queensland University 79-28 in a 13 to 4 try display to take out game 1 of the Inter City Rugby Series.
Queensland University fielded a vastly different team that won them the Grand Final and were missing key players Laurie Weeks, Mitchell Chapman and Luke Morahan but it didn’t look like it would cause them any problems as they started the game quite well. They dominated the possession and territory in the opening exchanges but their lack of execution and handling let them down badly in crucial areas on the field.
The Vikings scored 2 early long range tries on the back of Uni mistakes inside the Vikings 22 and, unfortunately for Uni, that would be the order of the day for them as dropped ball or turnovers on attack were punished by the Vikings backs.
The Vikings were pacing at a point a minute after 26 minutes but to University’s credit they fought back towards the end of the half with a nice try to fly half Junior Rasolea who looked like he’d been watching highlights of Quade Cooper as he displayed the hip/hop/step on numerous occasions. He also produced the second funniest moment of the season later in the game (after the ‘Gilbert’) when Rasolea had done the hard work by beating many Vikings defenders only to lose the ball on the line with no one in sight except referee James Leckie who was about to blow the whistle for a try but had to settle for the knock on instead.
The Vikings scored another try to Rod Esekia after the half time siren after an outrageous no look grubber kick from fly half Sam Yakopo and went to the sheds up 31-7.
University started the second half well and opened the scoring with a well worked try that was converted to give them a sniff of getting back into the game. However, this only sparked the Vikings into action and they went on a point scoring spree in the second half and in a 15 minute period piled on 24 unanswered points. Brumby Francis Fainifo revelled in the conditions with a brace of tries and his back line team mates were having a field day scoring the majority of their teams 13 tries.
University responded with 2 converted tries of their own in the middle of the half to put some respectability back into their performance before 3 late Vikings tries concluded the scoring for the day. Credit must go to University for not giving up and they did produce some good individual performances, especially from fullback Steve O’Leary, in an otherwise dismal day.
The InterCity Rugby Series is an initiative developed and bankrolled by the Tuggeranong Vikings Club and was supposed to include the winners of the respective club competition winners from Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney. Despite Tuggeranong actually finishing as runners-up to Queanbeyan in the Canberra competition, injuries had decimated the Queanbeyan side after their victory to the point where they felt they would not be able to field a competitive side in the series and stepped aside to let Tuggeranong take their place.
The Vikings only found out they would be taking their place in this match on Wednesday and managed to cobble together a few training sessions after a few days of self commiserating after their Grand Final loss. However, they played more like a team that had never lost a match all year.