NSW Gen Blues edge Force in U20s thriller

by Tom Logan

 The NSW Gen Blue U20s held off a fast-finishing Force outfit to take a 41-36 win at Kippax Oval on Saturday.

After withstanding early pressure from the Force, the home side took the lead whenHarry Johnson-Holmes found Theo Strang, to give them the first score of the day.

Johnson-Holmes soon showed his potential, using great strength for his age to push over for the second try and make the lead, 12-0.

The Force had a golden opportunity, with the Blues a man down after a yellow card and Australia  U20s prop Shambeckler Vui capitalised, bustling his way over for his side’s first.

Another Force try, through Evan Stafford put them ahead and the visitors started to take control.

NSW centre Esera Chee-Kam produced a sucker punch for the home side, using hisblistering pace to find gaps in the Force’s defence and steal the advantage back for his side.

A Strang offload to James Ramm down the sideline gave his teammate  the second consecutive NSW try and a 24-14 lead at the half-time break.

Chee-Kam grabbed his second try for the Blues before the Force hit back through a Matthew Lander runaway try and a penalty goal, calmly converted by Naude Wessels, kept them in the game.

The visitors were dealt another blow though, when they allowed NSW flanker Lachlan Swinton to score after another strong scrum from the home side.

The Force’s resilience shone through as the game ticked down, Vui grabbing his second try of the match, off a lineout and in almost a repeat play Tahere Reha brought the game to within two points.

Ramm sealed the win for the hosts as the match stretched into injury time, with a penalty goal from directly in front to give the Next Gen Blues the five-point win.


NSW Gen Blues U20s 41

Tries: Chee-Kam 2, Strang, Johnson-Holmes, , Ramm, Swinton

Pens: Ramm

Cons: Ramm  4

Western Force U20s 36

Tries: Vui 2, Stafford, Lander, Reha

Cons: A. Hondros 2, N. Wessels 2

Pens: N. Wessels 1