McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City have recorded a resilient 26-21 win over the Perth Spirit at the University of Western Australia in the second round of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship.
After trailing for the majority of the match, a 90-metre team try that was finished by replacement winger Junior Laloifi with 10 minutes to spare was enough for City to maintain their perfect record.
“It was a very courageous performance there from the side,” Brisbane City head coach Nick Stiles said.
“We knew coming over here it was going to be a tough game. They really do have a Super Rugby side, so we knew it would be up on last week’s game, that it was going to be physical and that we had to grind it out. To come back from a bit of adversity and get the win was an outstanding result for us.”
Brisbane’s first trip inside the Spirit’s 22 was a successful one, as they worked their way downfield and immediately scored down the right-hand side through Chris Kuridrani.
Perth’s first entry into the Brisbane’s 22 ended up with the same result, as Dillyn Leyds was rewarded for his strong early efforts with five points.
The Spirit maintained the majority of possession for 10 minutes following Kuridrani’s try, but were met sternly by the City side, who remained resilient despite being forced to defend several phases in succession.
Heath Tessmann was the second Spirit try-scorer for the afternoon, as he fell over the line off the back of a 10-metre rolling maul.
Terrific team play then saw the City side travel 50 metres downfield through an exchange of passes between Nick Frisby, James Horwill and Michael Gunn.
Perth were penalised from the ensuing ruck and after Frisby threw a 20-metre cutout pass to his left from the quick tap to Pettowa Paraka, the front rower fell over the line and drew the visitors within a conversion.
Horwill was industrious in his performance throughout the first half, as he racked up runs, tackles and hit rucks ferociously.
“Kev came in and did a great job. He really showed his leadership,” Stiles said.
“This is what makes this competition great, club players getting the chance to play with someone who will potentially be lining up for the Wallabies next weekend.
“In the short time that he has had with us I think he is going to leave a lasting impression for the rest of the season.”
After strong phase play from both sides, a scrum 30 metres out was the perfect setting for the Spirit to launch a deadly attack 20 minutes later, as Leyds nabbed his second five-pointer of the afternoon.
Brisbane hit straight back through a second try to Paraka, as he showed sheer will and determination through contact to drive his way over the line.
McIntyre converted Paraka’s second try to leave the score precariously placed at 21-18 in the Spirit’s favour heading into half time.
Just minutes into the second half, Wallaby squad member and Western Force veteran Matt Hodgson was sent to the sin bin for collapsing a Brisbane maul as it threatened to cross the Perth try line.
However, Brisbane were unable to capitalise during Hodgson’s time in the bin and they still trailed by three points with 20 minutes to play.
The try of the tournament to date was then scored by Brisbane City, with Junior Laloifi the beneficiary of two tremendous individual efforts in succession.
Matthew Feaunati intercepted a Perth effort 10 metres out from his own line and ran 50 metres down the right hand sideline before offloading to Frisby, who grubbered further ahead for Laloifi, with the Sunnybank flyer running another 20 metres to give City their first lead in 50 minutes.
With just three minutes to play, Brisbane won a scrum 22 metres out from their own line and looked to have all but secured their second victory from as many matches.
However, Perth won the scrum against the feed and proceeded to bombard the City line for 12 phases after the final siren had sounded.
As they had all second half, City held strong and after forcing a knock on from a Perth forward, Frisby booted the ball into touch to secure a stout, 26-21 victory.
Brisbane City 26 (P Paraka 2 tries C Kuridrani J Laloifi tries; J McIntyre 2 cons) def. Perth Spirit 21 (D Leyds 2 tries H Tessmann try; D Leyds 2 cons).
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