- The Qld Whites v Western Australia contest was the best match of the day.
- NSW Schoolslooked liked the best team but Qld Red had stronger opponents on Day 1; so who can say?
- The Sydney Juniors will have a tough time against the Brumbies tomorrow if the ACT lads play like they did in the 1st half on Day 1.
- Victoria acquitted themselves well in their 1st match but the Qld Red team should win as should the Qld White team against a disappointing Country side on Day 1.
The 2012 Australian Under 16 Championships opened on a brilliant spring day at Riverview in Sydney. As is usual on Day 1 the strongest teams in each pool are seeded to play against the weakest. The aren’t usually too many surprises in those games but in the past there have been some upsets in the other matches.
Game 1 – NSW Schools v NSW Country (by “George Smith”)
NSW Schools started the game with all but one of their reserves and with only 2 or 3 training sessions under their belt took a while before their fastest player, winger Joey Fittock from Alstonville, posted their first try. Then they increased the tempo and flyhalf Crerar went over.
Schools were getting on top as Henry Hutchinson, scored the first of his three tries own his home turf and not long after winger Mason Cohen dotted down for Schools lead Country 26-0 at the break.
After oranges Schools resumed with their ‘best’ team on the paddock. The forwards dominated through Lough, Summerhayes and Crichton, which allowed their backs to exhibit their class. Inside centre Frank Calugay (another speedster from Alstonville) went straight through the middle for 25m before being brought down. After a quick pick & drive to 5m the ball went through some quick hands for Hutchinson to score his second try – 31-0.
Then the loud speakers announced “try of the tournament” (notwithstanding it was the first game)! Schools’ captain, No8 Angus Crichton took the ball up the middle, then passed to centre Hutchinson who made ground before offloading to Kane (No15) on his inside, running at an angle. He dished it back to Crichton who unselfishly unloaded to Jono Burke (No2 from Kings) 2 metres out for a try under the posts. Schools 38-0.
After more Schools tries to try scoring machine Hutchinson (his hat-trick), scrummie McDougall and big, bad, big bopper, Bowditch (unstoppable from 8m out), full time couldn’t come quickly enough for NSW Country , When it did the scoreboard read 55-0.
Schools only weakness was in the set pieces. Their THP stood up frequently in the scrums, and there were too many crooked throws to the lineout. Country threw some skew as well, and though they never gave up were they spoiled what chances they had with mistakes, such as pushing the pass. Schools were too skilled, too fit, too big and too fast.
NSW Schools – 55 – [Tries H. Hutchinson (3), J. Fittock, B, Crerar, M. Cohen, J. Burke, A. McDougall, J.Bodwitch. Conversions: J. Kane (5).]
NSW Country – 0
Sydney Juniors v Victoria – (by “Newbie”)
The game started in an auspicious manner as both teams showed a willingness to play open and expansive rugby, moving quick ruck ball out wide to their respective backlines. Within five minutes this same willingness resulted in Sydney scoring first points from a scintillating 70m break by the 15. M. Clancy who eventually offloaded to support player 13. Burland who scored.
Victoria were good in patches however Sydney were dominating in both field position and possession. By the 15th minute Sydney were in again when M. Clancy scored from a great set piece off a scrum on the Victorian 5m line.
Sydney’s dominance continued, however Victoria forced them to concede several breakdown penalties. One such infringement late in the half let Victoria into the game when the ball went through the hands and flanker Tupai scored out wide. By oranges it was 12-7. But for penalties at the breakdown, and a resolute Victorian defence (especially at the ruck) the margin in favour of Sydney would have been wider.
Victoria came out a different team in the second half and were able to spend the first 15-20 minutes camped in the Sydney half. In doing so they were able to show enthusiasm to move the ball out wide. Nevertheless the Sydney defence, like Victoria’s in the first half, was equal to the task and this same resolve kept Victoria scoreless. Sydney was still conceding unnecessary penalties at the breakdown.
By the 20th minute Sydney started to gain some possession and 10. J. Clancy made a brilliant 40m break to set up a top try for the 12. Hayson. Several minutes later the Sydney fullback N. Clancy was in for another Sydney try.
By the 25th minute when it seemed like Sydney was going to run away with the game, they were again their own worst enemy conceding yet another breakdown penalty which saw 6. Burkett yellow carded. From the ensuing penalty Victorian scored through a bullocking run from 8. Hosea.
Ultimately Sydney finished the game deserved winners however Victoria were gallant in defeat and should be proud of their defensive effort. For Sydney special mention should go to 10. J. Clancy, 12. J. Hayson and 15. N. Clancy. For Victoria 4. Leota and 8. Hosea had exceptional games.
The scrum and lineouts were closely contested except that Sydney had problems with throwing the ball in straight, especially in the 1st half. Victoria were the more dominant at the rucks and Sydney has to be able to compete there with better discipline. The kickers from both sides missed relatively easy opportunities on a day that wasn’t too windy.
On a final note it was a good first hit-out for both teams especially with respect to their willingness to play ‘running rugby’.
Sydney Juniors – 24 – [ Tries: L. Burland, N. Clancy, J. Hayson, H. Taylor. Conversions: R. Vevers (2).]
Victoria – 14 – [Tries: Tupai, Hosea. Conversions: Laloifi, Toney]
Queensland Red v ACT Brumbies – (by “Lee Grant”)
Qld Red started quickly and after 3 minutes 10. Mason kicked precisely for winger Robinson to gather the bouncing ball and score wide out. But at 10 minutes the ACT were near the Reds goal line and saw the defenders were a man short. Flyhalf Hope sliced through to get the scores close – 7-5 Red.
Despite some ropey lineout throws Qld settled down and made ground in good real estate with mauls and latch runs. The Brumbies could not counter switching plays and eventually THP Green ploughed over.
The Red backs were starting to hit their straps but the young Brumbies were well in the game as the whistle blew for oranges and the score was 12-5 Red.
After 3 minutes the class of the Qld backs was demonstrated when winger Hussey made a break and with players queuing inside him backed his pace to score himself. 8 minutes flyhalf Mason dished a sweet inside ball for the other winger, Robinson, to score his 2nd. Hooker Mafi scored not long after and 13 minutes into the 2nd half the score had blown out to 33-5 Red.
But at 15 minutes the best individual try of Day 1 was scored by ACT inside centre Simmonson. He got the ball near half-way ran around tacklers like he was covered in snakes and spiders, and still dodging folks over the line scored near the posts 33-12 Red.
Alas he got a yellow card for cynical play not long afterward and 13. Devine finished the scoring for the Reds to win 38-12.
The Brumbies were competitive but the Qlders were better drilled up front and had too much class in the backs.
For the Brumbies: 15. Hickson was fast and often dnagerous – and 12. Simmonson deserves a gong for his try alone. For the Reds 7. McNamee was an excellent on-baller, ran the ball well and chased kicks. Like Placid last year 15. Nathan was dangerous in open play, 14. Robinson took every chance and 8. Schultz had some grand runs with strong leg drive when stopped, but lost the ball too often.
Queenland Red – 38 – [Tries: J. Robinson (2). A. Mafi, T. Hussey, R. Green, M. Devine. Conversions J Tuttle (3), M. Mason.]
ACT Brumbies – 12 – [Tries: J. Hope, L. Simmonson. Conversion: T. Evans.]
QLD White v Western Australia – (by “Hugh Jarse”)
Queensland snuck home by two points in a close fought battle in the final game against a meritorious and aggressive WA team. .
The game was one that rugby purists would love: not a lot of action for the Scoreboard attendant but plenty of action and movement on the field. Typical of Day 1 there were many errors from both teams, but the no nonsense packs ground each other down in a physical contest where no quarter was given.
The Whites will know how close they came to being 0 for 1 and will be happy to have this one in the bank. The kookaburra on the cross bar cackled as a long range WA penalty attempt near the end of the game missed. The boys from the West will be upset that they let this one get away, but can hold their heads high that there wasn’t much left in the tank when the ref blew full time.
WA lived up their preview – Big, tall mobile forwards favouring a ball in hand game, with skilful backs who were prepared to chance their arm. but final execution let the WA team down on a number of occasions. Their rolling maul was impressive an only desperate defence by the tenacious Whites in the final stages saved the day. Backline play was a little pedestrian at times, but there were glimpses of old fashioned #10 wrap around plays to create overlaps out wide.
They were caught napping by the ferocity and skills of their opponents, particularly in the piggies. The Whites looked rusty which is not unexpected given the limited time they have had together as a team. Their phase ball will need to delivered faster if they want to be able to exploit gaps in lazy defences with their slick backs, and they will need to work on their ball security in the rucks and mauls.
The score was 6-5 to the Whites at oranges and WA threw everything at them after the break. To their credit the Whites had one good chance to score in the 2nd half and they took it to go ahead near the end of the game.
WA stepped up even further after that but when a long range WA penalty missed the Whites ran managed to hold on for a couple of minutes to win 13-11
Queensland White – 13 – [Try: H. Nathan. Conversion: E. Pilz. Penalties: Pils (2).]
Western Australia: – 11 – [ Try: A. Taylor. Penalties: J. Simpkins, H. Claasen.]