Bond University Queensland Country have come back from a 14-nil deficit to claim a 21-14 win over NSW Country in Round 6 of the National Rugby Championship (NRC) at Bond University.
The Queensland side scored three tries through Dan Boardman, Patrick James and Hamish Stewart in the final 25 minutes of play, with Rohan Saifoloi slotting all three conversions, to secure the win and keep their finals hopes alive.
“I’m really pleased with the effort from the team today,” said head coach Rod Seib.
“Trailing 14-nil at the break, it took a lot of heart for the side to pull themselves back into the game and edge ahead.
“It was a physical encounter, NSW Country really took it to us for the majority of the match, so to hang in the fight and come away with the win is great for our team.”
Queensland Country applied plenty of pressure early in the match, camping themselves in the NSW 22 for the opening 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they couldn’t convert pressure into points with NSW holding Angus Scott-Young up over the line.
A yellow-card to Harry Hoopert in the 16th minute gave the visitors the advantage, and they capitalised crossing for two tries through Jake Gordon and Andrew Tuala, with flyhalf Connor O’Shea slotting both conversions, while Queensland were reduced to 14-men.
The two sides went into the sheds at half-time with NSW Country two tries ahead.
Queensland Country came out in the second half ready to fight their way back into the match, but it wasn’t until the 57th minute that they broke through NSW’s dogged defence.
Some quick hands from Hamish Stewart and Connor Pritchard put Dan Boardman over for the home-side’s first try, which Saifoloi converted to narrow the margin to 14-7.
Patrick James had immediate impact off the bench, benefiting from a sniping run from Saifoloi to dive over next to the posts in the 69th minute to level the score 14-all.
NSW did their best to work out of their own half, but Queensland kept their country cousins pinned inside their own territory, and Hamish Stewart sealed the match for the home-side in the 73rd minute with a converted try, 21-14.
“The win sees us still in the fight for finals,” said Seib.
“But we’ve still got a tough challenge ahead with the Fijian Drua in Sigatoka next weekend.
“We need to remain focused as a group and continue to improve each week. We left a lot of points on the field today and we can’t afford to do that as we move forward through the competition.”
Country’s final regular season match against the Fijian Drua will be played at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka, Fiji, next Saturday 12 October, kicking off at 1:00pm AEST.
Queensland Country 21Tries: Boardman, James, Stewart
Cons: Saifoloi 3
Yellow card: Hoopert 16'
NSW Country Eagles 14Tries: Gordon, Tuala
Cons: O'Shea 2