Bond University Queensland Country has claimed its first win of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship, defeating the Greater Sydney Rams 24-13 at Ballymore in Round 5 of the competition.
Queensland Country scored three tries to the Greater Sydney Rams’ two to secure the victory, and head coach Steve Meehan was delighted to see his team get over the line.
“I’m happy that the team was able to capitalise on their opportunities and secure their first win tonight,” said Meehan.
“The team had to show a lot of spirit tonight to overcome the challenge of being down to 13 men during the first half, they only conceded one try in that time and that is indicative of the values that we have instilled in this team.
“Our forwards had a tough battle at the scrum in the first half, but in the second half they were dominant and forced a number of penalties and a yellow card.
“Overall it’s very pleasing to see the boys rewarded for their efforts over the opening rounds of the competition.”
Queensland Country started the first half strong and used quick line speed and their dominant scrum to create opportunities. A full-arm penalty at the scrum gave Country their first chance to score and Sam Grasso darted in under the posts to score his first try in the NRC.
Brandon added the extra three points to give Country an 8-0 lead in the fourth minute.
Country continued to pressure the Rams in their own half but they suffered a blow in the 15th minute when Jamie-Jerry Taulagi was yellow carded for taking out his opposite number Dane Chisholm in the air.
The visitors managed to work their way into the Country half for the first time but some strong defence from the home side held the Rams out until a yellow card to Anthony Fainga’a reduced Country to 13 men.
The Sydney side made the most of their two-man advantage and crossed through winger Jarome McKenzie. Ben Volavola added the extra three points to level the score at 8-all in the 24th minute.
Queensland Country managed to defend the line and prevent the Rams from scoring any more points. The Country side were back to 15 men when Fainga’a returned to the field in the 32min.
The Rams continued to camp in the Country half and in the 38th min fullback Dane Chisholm dove over in the far left corner to put the visitors ahead for the first time in the match. Volavola missed the conversion leaving the score at 13-8 heading into the half-time break.
The second half began with a Rams attacking raid inside the Country half before the Queensland side worked their way deep into the opposition’s half. A yellow card to Greater Sydney’s blindside Hugh Perret gave Country a one-man advantage five metres off the visitor’s try-line.
A series of scrums followed and Queensland Country were eventually awarded a penalty try, which Brandon converted to put his side back in the lead, 16-13.
James Turner nearly crossed once again in the far-right corner after beating two defenders but fumbled an offload into touch.
A yellow card to Rams reserve prop Dave Lolahea after another series of scrums gave Queensland Country yet another one-man advantage five metres off the Rams try line in the 66th minute.
Jamie-Jerry Taulagi capitalised on the situation and crossed over in the left-hand corner, stepping around the last defender to do so, scoring Country’s last try in the 73rd minute.
Brandon slotted the conversion from the sideline to seal the win for the home side 24-13.
The win will provide Queensland Country with an added boost heading into the Round 6 local derby against McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City at Ballymore. The match will kick off next Sunday September 28, at the home of Queensland Rugby, Ballymore.
Queensland Country 24 (Sam Grasso, penalty try, Jamie –Jerry Taulagi tries; Matt Brandon 3 conv) defeated Greater Sydney Rams 13 (Jermone McKenzie, Dane Chisholm tries; Ben Volavola 2 conv).
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