The 2015 National Australian Under 20s Championship started yesterday at Viking Park in Canberra.
Three Aussie teams competed: city sides from Brisbane and Sydney plus a third chosen from the rest of Australia, including the country areas of NSW and Queensland.
Two visiting Under 20 teams, from Tonga and Fiji, also participated in the Championship.
Queensland 36 – Australian Barbarians 29
Because they were from all over the country, the Baas didn’t have an opportunity to train together but they arrived a few days early and last Thursday had a warm-up game against Tonga, which they won on the bell 40-36.
After Queensland flyhalf James Dalgleish kicked a penalty, his team began to dominate and parked themselves in the Barbarians half of the ground. When their no. 8 Harley Fox dived over from a ruck for a try, which Dalgleish converted, Queensland led 10-0.
But when the Red’s lock Izack Rodda got sent to the bin the combined side took advantage with burly tight head prop Tyrel Lomax scoring. A conversion by Pat Loeta reduced the Queensland lead to 10-7; but Dalgleish increased it with a penalty goal to 13-7
Just before oranges Victorian no 8, Ta Hosea, scored for for the Baas and this time scrummie Harry Nucifora converted.
At half-time the Australian Barbarians led for the first time with a score of 14-13.
@cdeegan reported: Great tussle and the two teams will be keen to get the advantage early in the second half. Queensland to have the wind.
Qld majority of possession but lacking polish in finishing. Baas have capitalised on their limited possession.
Penalties were exchanged and the Baas resisted several attacks from the northerners but their defence was cracked by Queensland flyer Joey Fittock, who scored in the corner – Queensland 21-17
The combined team responded soon afterwards when Toeta went through a gap like he was covered in snakes and spiders. Under the posts he went and Nucifora converted: Barbarians 24-21; but a Dalgleish penalty for Queensland tied the score up : 24-24.
Conrad Quick (Queensland) and Sione Tuipolutu (Barbarians) scored tries but neither was converted and the match was tied up again at 29-29
It went down to the wire but in the 80th minute with both sides using the ball to force a win, Queensland tapped a penalty kick from their own half and after a brilliant move fullback Patrick James scored.
Final score Queensland 36 – Australian Barbarians 29.
Queensland Under 20 coach Jason Gilmore was typically generous to his opponents:
The coaching staff of the Barbarians have done an excellent job and they have some young players for next year which bodes really well.
“Uncle Joe” – Baas better in scrums…even contest that could have gone either way…the Baa Baas can hold their heads up and they looked better-drilled than they were in the warm-up against Tonga on Thursday.
“Sideline Eye” – it was very even and the lead kept switching…the Baa Baas dominated the scrums…a great hitout for both teams…was surprised Queensland wasn’t more dominant, but they made fewer mistakes overall…the game was played in good spirit, but it was very aggressive…no real standout player, but (winger) Fittock and (lock) Rodda were everywhere for the Reds.
@cdeegan – A great game and wonderful display of talent.
NSW 64 – Tonga 17
The hot NSW backline was rampant in this game.
Here is a Twitter report from @cdeegan
NSW 7 – 0 awesome start, brilliant lead up, and finishing by 12. Jack Redden In the corner; flyhalf Andrew Deegan converts.
NSW 14-0 Another beautiful backline move puts 14. Henry Hutchison in the corner. Deegan converts.
NSW 21-0. Very very slick backline move then 6. Nick Kellaway takes it up under the posts. Deegan converts.
NSW 21-7 Tonga intercept from the line out and score; converted.
NSW 28-7 Another superb backline move putting 13 Alex Newsome through the gap and under the posts.
NSW 33 – 7. Great response to a deep kick sees the 9. Mitch Short go over after slick interchanges down the touch line.
NSW running with the wind next half. Very impressive performance so far.
NSW 33-12 Tonga proving to be very effective close to the line. Another try through pick & drive close to the line.
NSW 33-17 Tonga break the line and score in the corner!
NSW 38-17. NSW strike back! Hutchison scores in the corner
NSW 43-17. Really slick work again sees 11 Harry Jones crossing in the corner; no conversion
20 mins to go all reserves on.
After that NSW scored three more tries to win 64-17
NSW Head Coach Tim Rapp
We’re really happy to score 64 points through playing our style of footy, getting across the line and throwing the ball around.
We stuck to our structure; sometimes you can lose your way in these sorts of games but they were really accurate with what they did.
NSW looked like the form team of the day but in the second half Tonga struggled to match the fitness of the Sydney team and faded in the second half. The NSW reserves played well when the bench was cleared in the fourth quarter of the match.
NSW plays the Australian Barbarians tomorrow (Monday). The combined team improved noticeably from their warm-up game on Thursday and another step up could challenge the Sydney team.
Queensland had a good win against the Baas scoring a brilliant try to clinch the victory in the last minute of the game. They will be confident of matching the razzle-dazzle of NSW when they meet on Wednesday.
Photos by SE
Thank you all for comments and photos.