Around the grounds: Lealiifano one step closer to Super Rugby

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

Which Super Rugby players were in action in clubland this weekend? 

JOHN I DENT CUP

The highlight of the John I Dent Cup last weekend was the return of Brumbies playmaker Christian Lealiifano in fourth grade, reuniting with brother Lix , who came out of retirement for the match.

Lealiifano is on the verge of a Super Rugby return, though whether that comes this weekend or not will be decided in the coming days.

The flyhalf played his first game of rugby since his 2016 leukaemia diagnosis two weeks ago, continuing a remarkable journey on the way back to Super Rugby, a goal that Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has not shied away from discussing this season.

There was a surprise comeback in first grade too, with former Royals captain Craig McMahon playing the final minutes as Royals continued its undefeated season, with a thrilling win over Tuggeranong.

RESULTS

Tuggeranong Vikings 17 - Royals  24

Gungahlin Eagles 31 - Uni-Norths 12

Easts 3 - Queanbeyan Whites 68

QUEENSLAND PREMIER GRADE

Lachlan Maranta had a double for Wests in a vital win over Sunnybank,with his Reds teammate Jake McIntyre at fullback for Sunnybank.

Nick Frisby and Chris Kuridrani both featured for GPS in a big win over Souths, with Reds winger Chris Feauai-Sautia crossing for the Magpies, along with Reds squad member Jayden Ngamanu.

Australia U20s captain Reece Hewat started for Norths against Easts, against his U20s teammate Liam Wright and Reds duo Andrew Ready and Michael Gunn.

U20s scrumhalf Harry Nucifora was in action for Bond Uni in a thrilling win over Brothers.

Michael Gunn makes an offloads for Easts against Norths. Photo: QRU Media Unit

Results

Brothers 17 - Bond Uni 18

Easts 24 - Norths 29

GPS 52 - Souths 33

Wests 35 - Sunnybank 17

SHUTE SHIELD

A hat-trick of tries to rising NSW Waratahs squad member Harry Jones saw Warringah hang on to defeat a fast-finishing Randwick side 30-29 in Shute Shield Round 13 action on Saturday at Coogee Oval.

The Rats led 17-10 at the break and went further ahead not long into the second half with one of Jones' specials and pushed the score out to 30 for the visitors with another five pointer but the Galloping Greens weren't done and rattled home with tries to Sam Croke and debutant winger Tom Collins to narrow the score to a single point.

Jones was far from the only Super Rugby link in Coogee, with rookies Maclean Jones in the Rats side, while Andrew Deegan steered the home side, in a team that also featured Andrew Kellaway and Sevens rising star Dylan Pietsch.

At North Sydney Oval, Sydney Uni kept their playoff hopes alive with a thrilling 37-35 win over last year's premiers Northern Suburbs.

The Students fielded a bevy of Super Rugby talent with Tolu Latu, Will Skelton, Dave McDuling, Dean Mumm and Jake Gordon all turning out for the visitors while Norths could boast Rebels Will Miller and Hugh Sinclair as well as Waratahs Angus Ta'avao and Cam Clark.

Skelton's season is reportedly over after a broken thumb put him in doubt for his final two games in Waratahs colours.

McDuling and Mumm worked hard throughout the 80 minutes while Latu, criticised by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika during the week for his fitness, made sporadic but significant impacts throughout the match.

Norths, who had Waratahs Cam Clark and Angus Taavao in their ranks, once again finished fast, but not even the presence of coach Simon Cron, who is off to the Waratahs at the end of the season, could see them home.

Latu's greatest competition for the Waratahs hooker spot - Damien Fitzpatrick and Hugh Roach - both featured for Eastwood as they went down to West Harbour.

Waratahs backrower Jed Holloway started for Southern Districts, as they continued their surge to finals contention with a big win over Parramatta, along with Aussie Sevens players Conor Mitchell and Alex Gibbon, while prop Dave Lolohea played for the Two Blues.

RESULTS

Randwick 29 Warringah 30

West Harbour 43 - Eastwood 36 

Northern Suburbs 35 -Sydney University 37 

Eastern Suburbs 36 - Manly 41 

Parramatta 24 - Southern Districts 62 

Gordon 36 - Penrith 30

PINDAN PREMIER GRADE

With the Western Force hosting the Rebels at nib Stadium on Friday night no Super Rugby experienced players turned out for the Perth clubs.

Kalamunda took a major step towards featuring in the end of season playoff with a gutsy one-point in their Pindan Premier Grade win over Nedlands on Saturday, playing In torrential rain.

One of the heroes for Kalamunda was Aiden Shorthall who kicked the winning penalty goal with only a couple of minutes left on the clock.

Kalamunda are now two wins clear of the fifth-placed Associates with the finals well within sight.

RESULTS

Joondalup 52 Wanneroo 19

Associates 13 Cottesloe 25

Nedlands 21 Kalamunda 22

UWA 5 Wests Scarborough 23

DEWAR SHIELD

While no Super Rugby players featured in the Dewar Shield, the results fell the way of the favourites as Harlequin stretching its lead at the top of the ladder with another big win.

Box Hill and Melbourne played out the tightest clash of the weekend, with the former clinching a five-point win.

RESULTS

Box Hill 21 - Melbourne 16

Endeavour Hills 27 - Melbourne Uni 43

Moorabbin 5 - Harlequin 26

Southern Districts 0 - Power House 45

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