Brisbane City has won successive Buildcorp National Rugby Championship titles after a hard-fought 21-10 win over the University of Canberra Vikings at Ballymore Oval in Brisbane.
In a match played almost nothing like any NRC game in the last two years, City prevailed in an incredibly torrid affair befitting a Rugby World Cup knockout stage. Despite a tournament average of almost ten tries in every game, three tries to two was enough for Brisbane to take the title.
An outstanding second-half defensive effort saw City home, after they were able to equalise both Canberra’s first half tries. Jake McIntyre’s two conversions from three attempts proved crucial, with Vikings fullback Isaac Thompson missing both first half attempts.
Leading 13-10 at the break, City lifted their defensive intensity in the second half, which in turn forced crucial and regular turnovers as the Vikings became increasingly desperate to register points.
Replacement winger Alex Gibbon scored the matchwinner for City in the 73rd minute, which McIntyre converted to push the lead out to 21-10, and from there they were able to hold on in front of 4,327 supporters at Ballymore.
Canberra had late opportunities in the closing minutes but the Brisbane maul defence, especially, was able to again repel the Viking lineout drive. Though the Vikings were able to establish early scrum and lineout ascendancy, they were never really able to capitalise and were left to rue numerous missed chances on fulltime.
Brisbane have now stretched their unbeaten run out to 14 games across the two season of the Buildcorp NRC, and have repeated the Championship form of 2014, where they beat Perth Spirit in the decider 37-26.
Brisbane City 21 (Cadeyrn Neville, Nick Frisby, Alex Gibbon tries; Jake McIntyre 2/3 conversions) defeated University of Canberra Vikings 10 (Francis Fainifo, Isaac Thompson tries; Thompson 0/2 conversions) at Ballymore Oval, Brisbane.
As it happened:
2nd min: TRY Francis Fainifo – Vikings 5-0
3rd min: MISS conversion Isaac Thompson
5th min: TRY Cadeyrn Neville + CONVERSION Jake McIntyre – City 8-5
13th min: TRY Thompson – Vikings 10-8
14th min: MISS conversion Thompson
32nd min: TRY Nick Frisby – City 13-10
33rd min: MISS conversion McIntyre
38th min: YELLOW CARD Robbie Abel (UCV)
HT: Brisbane City 13 – Uni of Canberra 10
73rd min: TRY Alex Gibbon – City 18-10
74th min: CONVERSION McIntyre – City 21-10