The Canberra Vikings have made it two from two this season with a strong display as they defeated the Greater Sydney Rams 58-26 in Canberra.
The game was close at one stage with the Rams getting within eight points before the Vikings clicked into gear to run away with the game by a margin of 32 points, scoring eight tries in the process and earning a bonus point.
The Vikings were out of the blocks quickly and it took just two minutes for them to score the opening try to Captain Jarrad Butler from a lineout move deep in the Rams 22.
The Rams then paid the price for not defending a kick in general play and Ita Vaea found a gap in the defensive line and then threw an outrageous offload to Jerome Niumata who scored in the right corner to make it 13-0 with less than ten minutes on the clock.
The visitors had to put in a big defensive effort and were able to hold out the Vikings one occasion after the Vikings were denied just minutes earlier after Lausii Taliauli lost the ball on the line whilst trying to regather a kick.
They did have their chances to reel back in the score but execution and some solid Vikings defence saw them unable to get back into the game.
The Vikings then went back to their main weapon of the rolling maul off the lineout and it was Butler again who scored at the back and Lealiifano’s conversion made it 21-0.
To the Rams credit they kept coming back at the Vikings as the home sides discipline started to cause them some concern and they took advantage with prop Sam Needs crashing over from close range. Fullback Paul Asquith was able to find gaps in the Vikings line as he injected himself into the backline.
The visitors were the next to score as the Rams benefited again from the Vikings discipline and winger Brad Curtis scored from a brilliant back line move adjacent to the posts and Rohan Saifoloi’s conversion reduced the gap to eight points.
Just before half time the Vikings crossed again as giant lock Rory Arnold cleaned up a loose ball and scored from close range and Lealiifano’s conversion from the sideline made it 29-13 at the break.
After the break, the Rams came out firing and scored third try of the match to Cohen Masson after a series of pick and drives from the Rams pack to make the score 29-18.
But the Vikings would then hit back with Frankie Fainio on the end of some quick hands from replacement Dean Oakman-Hunt to go over in the left corner. Lealiifano’s conversion from the sideline made it 37-18.
Then they stepped it up another gear with Ita Vaea, who had been causing havoc all over the field, going over for the Vikings sixth try of the day to make it 42-18.
With 15 minutes to go, the Rams got a lucky bounce of the ball after a Vikings kick was charged down and fell into the arms of Sam Needs who only need to fall to score his second try of the game and it was converted to make it 42-26.
With around ten minutes remaining, Dean Oakman-Hunt continued a nice cameo and got on the try scorers list himself under the posts and Lealiifano’s fifth conversion racked up the half century for the hosts.
In the shadows of full time, Vikings winger Jerome Niumata bagged his second try of the game in the right corner and Lealiifano converted his sixth try with some tough conversions throughout the day to show he can be called upon for the Rugby World Cup if required.
Photos courtesy of Tim Anger Photography
The Game Changer
The Rams were in with a chance in the second half after Masson’s try but the Vikings stepped up a gear to keep the Rams at bay.
The G&GR MOTM
Jordan Smiler had a great game and his physicality at the breakdown helped the Vikings earn a number of turnovers.
His hit towards at the end of the game was a highlight.
Oz Baabaa Watch
Jerome Niumata had a strong game and scored a brilliant try in the first half and another in the second for the Vikings.
For the Rams, Paul Asquith and Cohen Masson were their best after a slow start.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Butler 2, Niumata 2, Arnold, Fainifo, Vaea, Oakman-Hunt
Conversions: Lealiifano 6
Tries: Needs 2, Curtis, Masson
Conversions: Saifoloi, Vascayo