UQ snatch Hospital Cup with last gasp win over Sunnybank - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Premier Rugby

UQ snatch Hospital Cup with last gasp win over Sunnybank

UQ snatch Hospital Cup with last gasp win over Sunnybank

The University of Queensland Red Heavies have today been crowned premiers in Queensland’s Premier Rugby competition following a thrilling 20-18 win over Sunnybank. In a match that showcased every aspect of Rugby, UQ ultimately managed to move past set piece deficiencies to steal the game from Sunnybank after they looked sure to close the game out.

The Game

UQ dominated early and showed their intention to move the ball around from the kick off. They were in turn rewarded with some field position, and a dinking kick in behind the ‘bank defense caused a fumble leading to a Harry Parker try, converted by Tom Pincus for 7-0.

Sunnybank responded immediately with a try to Shane Tasi after phase play pressure on the UQ line, to make it 7-7 inside ten minutes after Henry Taefu added the extras from in front.

From this point both sides struggled to gain momentum, with both sides guilty of getting a roll on toward the 22 only to be halted by sloppy handling or isolated ball carriers. The first half finished with Sunnybank taking the lead courtesy of a penalty just before time.

Half Time Score: Sunnybank 10 – UQ 7

Second Half

The second half kicked off and it was UQ who troubled the scoreboard first with a penalty to level things up at 10 all. Sunnybank began applying pressure at the set piece and gained possession which spelt trouble for UQ.

After continuous pressure Tasi again crossed, this time in the corner to make it 15 – 10 to Sunnybank, and their delighted fans started to sense a victory. Taefu just missed the conversion from the sideline. Things were looking ominous for UQ, who began to have a scrum meltdown and came close to conceding a penalty try at one stage, only being saved by a counter shove just as Sunnybank were cranking up the heat.

With fifteen minutes to go, UQ center Nicholas Malouf was yellow carded for being off his feet, killing Sunnybank’s momentum as they came close to scoring another try. Taefu didn’t miss from adjacent to the posts to make it 18 – 10 and Sunnybank’s game to lose.

The yellow card only motivated UQ however, and from the kick off Harry Parker made a line break off a quality inside ball from James Dalgleish to put Uni on the front foot. After a few phases right on the try line replacement Mathew Arvier scored right next to the posts, and following Pincus’ conversion it was 18 – 17 still in favour of Sunnybank, setting up a grandstand finish.

Sunnybank earned a penalty with just a mere two minutes on the clock and had the chance to close out the game, however Taefu’s attempt again fell agonizingly wide, giving UQ one more chance. Sunnybank kicked away possession and Tom Pincus went on a barnstorming run straight up the field after the defense drifted too far. Several phases later Sunnybank were penalised (beaten by the ruck) 40 meters out.

Pincus stepped up to the mark and nailed it to the delight of the Heavies fans on the hill, leaving the full time score at UQ 20 Sunnybank 18.

Man of the match

It’s hard to look past Pincus who had a ripper of a game with the boot and ball in hand. Honorable mention to Harry Parker who looked and played like a younger version of the honey badger, as well as Shane Tasi who had a thundering game.

How good is amateur Rugby?

From my perspective I enjoyed that a lot more than Bledisloe I. Sitting on the Hill in between the ‘Bank and Heavies fans was a time warp to something I haven’t really experienced in Rugby, being born at the same time as professionalism. In my view, Rugby needs the spirit, character and colour of places like Ballymore and the hill back.

There was singing, yelling, chat going back and forth, and I thought the game itself, attended by 5,000 odd fans, actually had more atmosphere than I’ve seen at some Reds games with 30,000. Both sets of fans knew exactly when to cheer or jeer and both had some great tunes to sing along to. (My personal favourite from Sunnybank – “da da da da, I’ve seen straighter twisties” during UQ lineouts).

Tickets were 15 dollars – I would have liked to see them cheaper but no real complaints. If the QRU put beer on the cheap and worked with engaging all of the clubs for the Brisbane NRC team, the Ballymore halcyon days could return.

All in all, a cracking afternoon of footy. Congratulations to UQ and commiserations to Sunnybank.

  • RugbyReg

    Good article Harry. Loved the observations on the atmosphere on the Hill. Thanks for writing it up. Was a great game I thought. Very intense. I too was very impressed by the same players you said – in particular Parker (agree, another Honey Badger) and Tasi who blew me away with his workrate for such a big lad. Two try hero!

    Love the story of the twins playing against each other – Conor at 7 for UQ and Brendan at lock for the Bank. The battle between Conor and Gill was immense. Also thought Dave McDuling was fantastic for Uni and a key to their 2nd half dominance.

  • Cote

    The bingle between the ‘Bank and Filth supporters on the hill before the game was a ripper as well. Champagne pre-match entertainment.

    • spikhaza

      Probably the only unfortunate aspect of the day and its lucky no one was hurt but at the same time if a bit of biff is a by product of passion and support then that’s fine by me. Again, you would never see that at a Reds game.

      the consensus: BRING BACK THE HILL!!

  • RobC

    Close Game

  • Nice write up mate.

  • RugbyStu

    “had more atmosphere than I’ve seen at some Reds games with 30,000″ It always does! I was there last year to see the mighty tigers get up I think the crowd was 8000 and I don’t think I have enjoyed a game of any sport as much since perhaps the tahs game.

    I am definitely going to Thursdays NRC game, this new comp could be like that, it is what the fans make of it.

    • spikhaza

      RugbyStu I could not agree more. I’ll be on the hill having a few beers and making some noise with mates. Imagine if this Brisbane NRC team takes off, we could have a real atmosphere at a rugby game!

      The chat between the two fans was just A+, worth every cent. Sunnybank fans were running the old ‘rahrah uni degrees’ line. You would just never see that at a cavernous suncorp game

  • Mr T.

    I may be mistaken but I thought Taefu went off injured after about 20 minutes, after that McIntyre took all the shots for Sunnybank.

    As a bank fan I was pretty devastated and I was more than a little annoyed when Uni went to uncontested scrums for the last 10 minutes, but I see UQ weren’t allowed a substitute for the third prop to go off so I can’t complain too much.

    From where I sat in the stands I felt Sunnybank had a real edge at scrum time, but I felt the UQ forwards were much better in general play. It always looked like there was a Uni player on the ball at the tackle and Sunnybank were a step or two behind for the clean out. UQ backrow pressured the Sunnbank backs well too, I thought the speed of delivery at halfback was a real point of difference between the two teams with Gale getting the Red Heavies faster ball, plus his kicking was also pretty good.

    Its mentioned above and in the comments but I too was really impressed with Parker on the wing for UQ. He was a real threat every time he touched the ball and was not afraid of contact despite his smaller stature. And to support RugbyReg’s comments, McDuling was a force for the UQ pack and really led them around the field.

    For Sunnybank, Tasi was fantastic. It still astounds me that Rex Tapuai has never earned a gig above club level, I thought he was a threat with pretty limited opportunities. And Gill was an obvious talent, but that is to be expected of a Super Rugby player at a club match, I’ll say he was well matched by the UQ #7 though.

    Sunnybank had our chances but we didn’t take them, Uni did. All up, hats off to UQ, the best club all year and well deserved champs.

    • Mr T.

      And good article Harry, I shouldn’t nitpick without giving you the credit you deserve.

    • Jim

      It was a real same about the uncontested scrums there at the end. Unfortunately UQ carried 3 props with injuries into the game…. they almost got to the end! But then to grind out the win with 14 for just about the last quarter of the game was pretty impressive. Kudos.

      I thought the UQ 7, Connor Mitchell, was incredible in the first half…. he was everywhere. Shame he hasn’t made any NRC sides.

      The blue on the hill was pretty entertaining as well!!!

  • Waz_dog

    Cheers Harry for the write up – can only reminisce over a prems granny being over the ditch.

    I know the hill went absolutely berserk last year too – really hope there’s some really good support for the Qld teams in the NRC this year to keep the hill rockin’ ‘n’ rolling!!!!!

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