McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City have overcome an 11-point half-time deficit to defeat the Sydney Stars 47-32 at Ballymore on Saturday Night in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) semi-final.
The win will see the City side host their second consecutive NRC grand final at Ballymore, providing the side with the chance to defend their 2014 title. Brisbane City will face the Canberra Vikings at 3:00pm (AEST) next Saturday to determine this year’s winners.
A strong performance from the home forwards laid the platform for a courageous comeback victory in front of 2,432 vocal fans.
Two-tries apiece from St.George Queensland Reds pair Liam Gill and Nick Frisby, helped push City ahead of the opposition in a thrilling semi-final.
Brisbane City head coach Nick Stiles was happy to get the win and book a place in City’s second NRC Grand Final.
“We knew that the Stars were going to be physical and test the boundaries tonight, but the team showed great character and resolve to fight back with a strong second-half performance,” Stiles said.
“It is going to be a great final next Saturday at Ballymore. Canberra have played good Rugby this season and have a strong pack that gets through a lot of work. Our challenge will be to front up and put an 80-minute performance together in front of our home fans.”
Sydney opened the scoring in the ninth minute through winger Guy Porter, flyhalf Angus Roberts converted for an 8-0 lead.
Brisbane City’s forwards, led from the front by Gill and lock Ben Hyne, starred in the first-half with a number of big impacts in attack and defence, as well as dominating the scum and line-out.
The home forward’s power at set-piece was demonstrated when a rolling maul was driven 35-metres downfield for a converted try to Brothers’ flanker Luke Beauchamp in the 12th minute. This brought the scores level at 8–all.
Consecutive penalties against the visitors gifted Brisbane City valuable field position and man-of-the-match Gill crossed for the first of his two-tries from the back of another reliable rolling maul. Flyhalf Jake McIntyre was unable to add the extras, but City held the lead 13–8 in 28th minute.
In the 33rd minute, Stars flanker Jake Wainwright darted through the defence to score a converted try. The visitors led 16–13.
The Stars were soon back on attack and winger Harry Jones pounced on a kick to score a try to take Sydney out to an 11-point lead at half time, 24–13.
Brisbane City opened the second-half playing flat and direct in attack through the centres, opening a hole for captain Gill to pick-and-drive for his second try. McIntyre was successful with the conversion and City were within three of the visitors, 24–21.
City hooker Andrew Ready and Stars prop Jeremy Tilse were both sent to the sin bin in the 48th minute, reducing the sides to 14-men.
The Stars found themselves in dominant field position not long after and hooker Tolu Latu was able to crash over from the base of a rolling maul. This put the Stars in the lead 32–21 after 52-minutes.
Brisbane City turned up the heat from that point on crossing for four more tries before full-time.
Brilliant counter-attack from City’s dangerous outside backs saw the ball passed through multiple sets of hands before finding Samu Kerevi for a converted try in the 54th minute. McIntyre was successful with the conversion, 32–29 in favour of Sydney.
City secured the lead when halfback Nick Frisby toed ahead a loose-ball in the 57th minute to score City’s fifth try. McIntyre was successful with the conversion giving City a 37–32 lead.
Frisby struck again moments later after intercepting an overthrown lineout deep inside Sydney’s 22, falling over the line to carry the lead to 10-points with 17-minutes remaining. The conversion was unsuccessful.
City’s final try came from flyhalf Jake McIntyre after dummying through the line to power over for the match-winner that would see City win the match 47-32.
City return to Ballymore to face the Canberra Vikings next Saturday afternoon, 31 October, in the grand final. Kick-off is at 3:00pm AEST (Brisbane time).
Tickets for the match will be on sale from 9:00am (AEST) on Monday morning, visit www.redsrugby.com.au for more information.
McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City 47 (Liam Gill (2), Nick Frisby (2), Samu Kerevi, Luke Beauchamp, Jake McIntyre; McIntyre 4 conversions) defeated Sydney Stars 32 (Guy Porter, Jake Wainwright, Harry Jones, Tolu Latu; Angus Roberts 4 conversions)