Bond University Queensland Country have finished their Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) season with a 42–8 loss to the University of Canberra Vikings at Sunshine Coast Stadium, in-front of more than 1,100 spectators.
In what were near-perfect conditions on the Sunshine Coast, the Canberra Vikings ran in six tries to one to secure a bonus-point win.
The battle at the scrum was a focal point of the match, with both teams possessing two of the better set-pieces in the competition.
Country head coach Jason Gilmore said he was proud of the way the team has conducted themselves throughout the season.
“While the result tonight was a disappointing end to the season, I’m proud of the way the team hung in until the final minute and continued to attack,” Gilmore said.
“The team has had to overcome a number of challenges throughout the season through injuries but the players have turned up week-in-week-out and represented the Queensland Country Rugby community with pride.”
Queensland Country captain James Tuttle, who finishes the 2015 season as the most capped Country player (16) and most capped captain (8), was appreciative of the home town support on the Sunshine Coast.
“We may not have got the result we wanted, but I am proud of the boys’ effort tonight and for the whole season. I just want to thank the Queensland Country fans who have come out and supported us each week. We have enjoyed playing in-front of regional crowds and hope to visit new areas of country Queensland again next year.”
Canberra opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Mitch Third charged down an attempted clearance kick from Sam Greene. The conversion was successful to give the Vikings an 8–0 lead.
The Vikings controlled possession and territory early on and halfback Brett Hamlin darted over from the back of a five metre scrum to give Canberra a 13–0 lead after 15 minutes. Isaac Thompson slotted the conversion to give the visitors a 16–0 lead.
The Vikings crashed over for their third try in the 22nd minute when fullback Thompson coasted through a gap before offloading to James Dargaville on the wing. Thompson’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful leaving the score at 21–0.
Tuttle scored Queensland Country’s only try of the night off the back of a solid scrum, sniping across the try-line. Greene was successful with the conversion, leaving his side trailing 21–8.
The rest of the half was a stop-start affair and the half-time score remained 21–8, with the visitors in the lead.
After the break, the Vikings started the second half strongly with prop Leslie Lealua-iali'i-Makin scoring in the 45th minute and the conversion was successful giving Canberra a 29–8 advantage.
In the 49th minute, Lausii Taliauli scored a solo try from 40-metres out. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving Canberra in-front 34-8.
Canberra reverted back to one of their strengths, the rolling maul, in the 56th minute and Daniel Penca picked up a try. Thompson was successful with the conversion to take the score out to 42–8, where it remained for the rest of the match.
Queensland Country’s match against the Canberra Vikings was the third-and-final-leg of the 2015 Queensland Country Tour, which has seen the side play its NRC home games on the Darling Downs, in Rockhampton and on the Sunshine Coast. The tour was proudly supported by the Queensland Government.
Queensland Country finish their second NRC season with two wins over the Greater Sydney Rams (Round 4) and NSW Country (Round 6).
Canberra Vikings 42 (Mitch Third, Brett Hamlin, James Dargaville, Leslie Lealua-iali'i-Makin, Lausii Taliauli, Daniel Penca tries; Isaac Thompson 4 conversions) defeated Bond University Queensland Country 8 (James Tuttle try; Sam Greene 1 conversion)
Source: Queensland Country