NSW I notched up another big win on day 2 of the Australian School Championships, this time against Combined States, 40 – 5.
The other still undefeated team, the ACT, beat NSW II 31 – 29, in another thriller. In other matches, the QLD teams struck back after first round losses. QLD I defeated WA 17 – 3, while QLD II accounted for Victoria 32 – 17.
Here’s how the tables look with one more round to be played today before the finals on Saturday.
Both teams came into this ‘match of the day’ having won their games on day one. The winner would likely have a good chance of playing in the main final on Saturday.
From the kick-off, ACT come out punching and secured two penalties in front of the NSW II posts that were converted by Will Goddard (10), putting ACT in front by 6 – 0 after five minutes.
ACT looked well structured and clinical around the park, while NSW II were making lots of errors and providing turn-over ball.
NSW II finally got some structure and was able to string more than two phases together for Hunter Ward (8) to score their first try.
NSW II were being heavily penalised – allowing Goddard to convert two more, taking their first half total to 12 points – all from penalty conversions.
But then NSW II took advantage of an unfortunate knock-on by ACT on their own try line, for Angus Bell (13) to score.
NSW II’s Dominic Easy (10) also converted a penalty goal for the score to be 15 – 12 at oranges. NSW II was starting to gaining the ascendency.
The 2nd half started with NSW II continuing to assert their dominance with Hunter Ward bagging his double up the middle and Tom Yassmin (14) scoring down the wing. ACT had a lot of possession but just couldn’t convert it to tries. Down by 17 points, ACT appeared to be done.
……Suddenly ACT’s Will Goddard put their 15, Brendan Jimenez through a gap for a try. A few minutes later Jimenez evaded three tacklers for a scorching run to score his 2nd try. A brilliant solo effort. ACT was back in the hunt. Game on!
With three minutes remaining, ACT’s Petau Lefau (11) scored after another searching run by Jimenez. He was playing a blinder. ACT hit the lead and managed to hold in defence until full-time. What a turn-a-round!
A huge comeback, ACT won 31 – 29 and the crowd went wild.
ACT 31 (Jimenez 2, Lefau tries; Goddard 2 con; Goddard 4 pen) def. NSW II 29 (Ward 2, Bell, Yassmin tries; Easy 3 con; Easy pen)
By Nic Darveniza / “TheKing”
Queensland II have shaken off their demoralising round one loss to the Combined States by upsetting 2016 semi-finalists Victoria 32 – 17.
The win was hard earned against heavily favoured opposition but the underdogs got home in style, even reeling in a contender for try of the year across any level of football.
The game hung in the balance with a 10 – 7 half-time lead but the Queenslanders powered home in the second half for a key win.
Victoria opened the scoring as a missed kick for touch was chased down superbly by winger Liae Tuilagi to touch down in the 13th minute.
Queensland responded in the 20th when 16-year-old flyhalf Carter Gordon fired a monster cut-out pass to prop Tyrell Kopua, showing great poise to put away openside Brayden Law for a 40m runaway try on the right wing.
The best was still to come as Queensland stole a Victorian lineout off their doorstep and counter-attacked 100m to score a scorcher.
Queensland winger Viliami Lea blasted through a hole in midfield before finding flanker Kohan Herbert, in turn flick passing to the feet of scrumhalf Rhian Stowers.
Showing off skills that would make Brian O’Driscoll weep, Stowers kicked the ball up to himself mid-stride and passed for lock Will Chaffey to score a truly memorable try.
Unlucky from the boot, Gordon failed to convert either Queensland conversion and missed a difficult penalty on the stroke of halftime to keep scores at 10 – 7 in Queensland’s favour.
The young Reds were quick to add to it in the second half as winger Alex Gow snuck around the outside to score in the 32nd minute.
Victoria struck back through centre Paul Faoagali but Queensland kept at it, turning over a lineout and driving over through flanker Brayden Law for their fourth try.
Victoria brought the game back within five points with a try to Angus Edwards but would get no closer as Queensland supersub Josh Vuta added another three points to the tally with a penalty goal in the 48th minute before running home a try in the 53rd to seal the win.
STANDOUTS FOR VIC
Sione Tui (15): You can see why this kid has played Super U20s. Tui is poised to break free of the defence and score at any moment.
Emmanuel Maliko (17): Infuriatingly the Victorian numbers did not match the team sheet provided, nor the one the commentators were given. Emmanuel Maliko is my best guess for the occupant of jersey #17; he is one big unit with no problems throwing his considerable mass around the park or in the scrum.
Haloti Fonua Jnr (wing): Sione Tui’s partner in crime looked every bit as threatening, going on to notch a try.
STANDOUTS FOR QLD II
Morgan Gassman (4): Gassman’s well-roundedness was a big part of his side’s win today. Australian’s don’t celebrate the blokes who do the tough stuff often enough, but I will today.
Kohan Herbert (7): Queensland are blessed with a number of excellent opensides this year and Kohan Herbert is one of them. Blessed with size, it doesn’t take much to imagine Herbert wearing Green & Gold.
Rhian Stowers (9): Lachlan Connors will count himself unlucky but I just couldn’t keep out the outrageous display of skill that Stowers put on for Chaffey’s try. Simply unbelievable; I encourage all to seek out the highlights and watch for yourself.
QLD II 32 (Law 2, Chaffey, Gow, Vuta tries; Gordon, Whiteside con; Vuta pen) def. VIC 17 (Tuilagi, Fonua Jnr, Edwards tries; Fonua Jnr con)
By Nic Darveniza / “TheKing”
Queensland I have earned their first win of the 2017 Australian Schoolboys Championships by defeating a valiant Western Australian side 17 – 3.
Queensland’s WA-born flyhalf Campbell Parata contributed seven-points against his home state while lock Harry Wilson created two tries with impressive ball-playing skill to earn our Man of the Match nod.
The Queensland scrum was dominant from start to finish regardless of personnel in a strong showing for that unit.
The victors started all eight bench players to give those boys a chance to shine in front of the Australian selectors and were not let down as reserve trio Clinton Malolua, Theo Fourie and JP Tominiko forced a penalty from right in front.
Parata converted the simple shot in the 6th minute to grab a 3-pt lead early.
The Western Australians struck back with their own penalty goal through flyhalf Sam Barsby in the 15th minute to equalise.
The game burst into life as multiple turnovers inside the WA 22m created opportunities for both teams to score but for desperate defence to deny.
Queensland were prone to throwing away possession hunting for the miracle pass in the first half but were let off the hook time and time again by poor discipline from their western opposition.
The kicking boot of Parata kept Queensland in the territory game and eventually the weight of possession told as captain Harry Wilson showed off his ball-playing ability to put away fellow lock Fred Fewtrell in the 25th minute.
The WA schoolboys showed plenty of energy on attack to record two linebreaks in the first half but lacked the cohesion to finish their opportunities, finishing the first half behind 10 – 3.
Queensland’s Wilson didn’t take long to get his side back over the line with a perfectly executed offload finding Joseph Faulalo with one left to beat.
A smooth step off the right carried the No.8 over between the posts to open up a 17 – 3 lead in the 35th minute.
Both flyhalves went down with injury in the second half as two further tries to Queensland’s Faulalo and Tom Kibble were denied by referee Brody Ingram to bring about full-time with the same score.
STANDOUTS FOR WA
Carlo Tizzano (7): The zippy flanker always seemed to pop up where he was needed most for his side in attack and defence. The lean breakaway showed off an impressive skill set handling the ball and didn’t go down without a fight.
Brodie McAskill (8): A dynamic operator in the loose, it was a number of repeat efforts throughout the match that caught this reviewer’s eye.
Jackson Pugh (lock): True to the name, Jackson Pugh belongs in the engine room with his industrious play throughout the match.
STANDOUTS FOR QLD I
Harry Wilson (4): Showed off his own wonderful ball-playing skills, executing sharp passes to create four clean-breaks for two tries. Wilson was also disruptive at the lineout with two dislodged throws.
Campbell Parata (10): Western Australian born flyhalf showed off excellent kicking ability against his home state with one 70m nudge into the wind the clear standout. Crisp passing and good decision-making rounds out a complete package at flyhalf.
Joe Small (7): Offering safe hands in the lineout with robust physicality, Small’s three turnovers forced in the 1st half was just enough to get him past his replacement Tom Kibble, who secured two in the second.
QLD 1 17 (Fewtrell, Faulalo tries; Parata 2 con; Parata pen) def. WA 3 (Barsby pen)
A dominant first half from a NSW outfit that looked a lot sharper than Monday. Combined States (CS) also looked good, but found it hard to keep up with the NSW team’s pace and size.
CS started well in good field position with some strong forward running, especially from the work of No 7 Harry Turner. But strong defense from NSW 19, Jeremy Williams and 1 Bo Abra dominated the CS ball runners.
The first try came when NSW 11, Will Lloyd collected a down field kick and gave an inside ball to 13, Lachlan Ilias.
The second try was a great team effort, finished off with a great pass from NSW 6, Luca Moretti, to the winger Lloyd who was having a cracking half.
The highlight of the half was a slicing run by NSW 10 Ben Donaldson to set up a flick pass for a beautiful try under the posts for NSW 7, Donny Freeman.
NSW started the second stanza relentlessly attacking the CS in their half and got away with two more tries. The highlight was a beautiful offload from NSW 6, to that man Donny Freeman in again with another great support try.
CS only try of the day came from a poor kick option from NSW 15, Tom Woodcock, who punted it straight to CS 15, Mike Pavlakis, who ran straight through to score a beautiful try.
STANDOUTS FOR NSW I
Donny Freeman (7): Was dynamic and a key support player. He showed how capable he was in the game today and scored two great support tries.
Luca Moretti (6): Was a massive presence around the field in contact and set up two tries with some great handling skills.
Will Lloyd (11): The standout back today, offered a lot with the ball in hand and in his support lines for attack. Set up two tries with smart passing and scored one himself.
STANDOUTS FOR CS
Harry Turner (7): Was a continual pest at the contact and showed great tenacity in defence. Made three very important turnover steals at the breakdown.
Mike Pavlakis (15): With less ball than Monday, but again demonstrated how good he is on counter ball with the only CS try of the day.
Triston Reilly (13): Was good with the limited ball he had and did a lot of good defensive work.
NSW I 40 (Ilias 3, Freeman 2, Lloyd, Douglas tries; Donaldson 3 con) def. CS 5 (Pavlakis try)
Day 3 – Thursday 6 July
10:00am – VIC v CS
11:30am – WA v ACT
1:00pm – NSW II v QLD I
2:30pm – NSW I v QLD II
Day 4 – Saturday 8 July
8:45am – Pool A 4th v Pool B 4th
8:45am – Pool A 3rd v Pool B 3rd
10:00am – Pool A 2nd v Pool B 2nd
11.30am – Pool A 1st v Pool B 1st
Reports from Day 1