NRC: 87th minute penalty try steals first win for Rams

by Brett McKay

They looked the beaten side for 75 minutes, but the Western Sydney Rams managed to play for another twelve minutes to steal a 50-46 win over Queensland Country at Concord Oval.

It was the biggest comeback in Buildcorp National Rugby Championship history, after Country led the Rams 38-20 at halftime.

“It wasn’t the way we wanted to play it, but we’ll definitely take the points,” Rams Captain Paul Asquith said after the overtime win.

“I always backed our scrum, we’ve got a good set piece, and as soon as we got those late penalties, the forwards were saying ‘go to the scrum’. That’s what you want to hear as a captain.”

The Rams got themselves back into the game after the halftime break via hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa soon after the break, and then again in the 62nd minute through centre Apo Latunipulu, to close the gap to just ten points.

Tyrone Viiga gets an offload despite plenty of attention. Photo: Getty Images

Rams winger Luke Smart dotted down in the corner for his second try of the game with less than a minute to go to make it 46-42 in favour of the visitors.

But a string of scrum penalties against Queensland Country after the final siren left referee Amy Perrett with no alternative but to point to the spot under the posts, handing the Rams their first win of 2016.

Earlier, Country opened the scoring through winger Liam McNamara, after some nice lead-up work found him unmarked on the outside.

The Rams were trying to get themselves back into the game, but handling errors were killing off early opportunities. But they were getting an edge via their set piece, and soon took advantage.

After he lost the ball in trying to score moments before, no.8 Tyrone Viiga scored off the back of a dominant Rams’ scrum in the 14th minute. Asquith’s conversion smashed into the post and rebounded straight back where the Rams skipper was standing next to his kicking tee.

Duncan Paia'aua had his best game in the Buildcorp NRC. Photo: Getty ImagesCountry then hit back twice in five minutes, with converted tries to fullback Tom Banks and opposite winger Tom Pincus, with centre Duncan Paia’aua prominent in both plays.

Western Sydney responded immediately, with Smart crossing in the corner for his first, but Country responded with another double; hooker Alex Casey crashing over from a lineout drive, and no.8 Angus Scott-Young scoring out wide after more brilliant play in midfield from Paia’aua.

Asquith kept the Rams in touch, running 100 metres from a standing start after taking an intercept on his own line and converting, to send the teams into the sheds with Queensland Country leading at the break.


Tries: L. Smart 2, T. Viiga, P. Asquith, B. Paenga-Amosa, A. Latunipulu, Penalty try

Cons: P. Asquith 4/7


Tries: L. McNamara, T. Banks, T. Pincus, A. Casey, A, Scott-Young, M. Jones

Cons: M. Mason 5/6