NRC: Brisbane hit the front after nail-biter in Canberra

by staff

McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City have continued their unbeaten run in this season’s Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) after defeating the Canberra Vikings 37 – 31 at Viking Park in Canberra on Saturday afternoon.


The nail-biting win saw City retain the Horan-Little Shield and put them in a good position to secure the Minor Premiership with one round remaining.


Playing in front of 2,177 passionate fans in Canberra, Brisbane City showed great resolve and determination to come away with the victory in a ten-try thriller.


Similarly to the Round 7 clash against the Sydney Stars, the performance was built on the back of a great first half of Rugby which saw the visitors enter the sheds at halftime with a 24 – 5 lead.


Brisbane City head coach Nick Stiles said the team was thrilled to get the victory over a very strong Canberra outfit and retain the Horan-Little Shield in the process.  


“It was very pleasing to come down to Canberra and play against another undefeated side laden with Super Rugby experience and get the result. It was great to be challenged and to come through with the win is something we are very proud of.”


“It is a great achievement to have gone down to Melbourne in Round 2 to secure the Shield, retain it with two victories at home and now to retain it away against a very good Canberra side. We are excited to be able to defend it again next week in front of our loyal Brisbane City fans and to secure our name on the Shield should we get the win.” Stiles said.


The match got underway when Canberra Vikings opened the scoring in just the third minute when captain Jarrad Butler crashed over from a rolling maul to give the home team a 5 – 0 lead. The conversion was unsuccessful.


It was clear that City looked to play field position early on and after some sustained pressure on attack, Pettowa Paraka barged over in the 11th minute. Jake McIntyre’s conversion attempt was successful to give City an 8 – 5 lead.


City was forced to make a number of tackles in the opening stanza and were led gallantly by captain Liam Gill who was a threat at the breakdown all afternoon.


In the 31st minute, Junior Laloifi, the tournament’s top try-scorer, strolled over after a well worked backline move to give the visitors a 13 – 5. Once again, the conversion was successful by McIntyre to give City a 16 – 5 lead.  


On the cusp of halftime, City scored a fantastic team try when lock Ben Hyne crashed over in the corner after some lovely hands by Nick Frisby, Sam Talakai and Paraka. McIntyre nailed the sideline conversion to give City a 24 – 6 lead at the break.


City came out of the blocks strongly in the second half when centre Samu Kerevi scored in the 41st minute and when McIntyre slotted the conversion, City held a 32 – 5 lead.


From that point on, the Vikings dominated territory and possession and ran in three quick tries through Robbie Abel, Rodney Iona, Albert Anae, to bring the scores back to 32 – 23 in favour of the visitors with 20 minutes to go.


Gill was once again involved heavily in the second half and managed to score a try of his own in the 64th minute. The try was setup brilliantly by a Laloifi and Hunt counterattack and McIntyre’s was unsuccessful with the conversion. City led the match 37 – 23.


With ten minutes left on the clock, City’s reserve prop Markus Vanzati was given a yellow card for repeated infringements and Vikings replacement prop Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin scored to bring the home team within striking distance. Christian Leali’ifano nailed the conversion to take the score to 37 – 31 in favour of City.


It was a tense final few minutes where the Vikings had all of the territory and possession, however, the defence and scrum of Brisbane City held strong and Andrew Lees blew the final whistle in the 84th minute to City’s delight.


McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City 37 (Paraka, Laloifi, Hyne, Kerevi, Gill; McIntyre 4 conversions) defeated Canberra Vikings 31 (Butler, Abel, Iona, Anae, Leulua’iali’i-Makin; Christian Leali’ifano 2 conversions)


Source: Brisbane City