The Queensland Reds have booked themselves a home final in the 2017 Super Under 20s Championship after a comprehensive 36-10 win over NSW Gen Blue in Brisbane on Saturday.
The young Reds scored five tries to two in what was a dominating performance that started in the early minutes and continued deep into the match at the Wests Bulldogs ground.
Water tight defence was one of the highlights for the home side as NSW Gen Blue struggled to find any way through the Reds midfield of flyhalf Hamish Stewart, Dylan Riley and Tony Hunt throughout the 80 minutes.
NSW Gen Blue, who came into the weekend’s round of games on top of the standings with 10 points, now head to Melbourne to take on the young Rebels on Friday night for the chance to have another crack at the Reds in there final.
The top two teams play off for the Super U20s silverware.
The Reds dominated possession from the first moments of the game but it took until the 10th minute for the Reds to get on the board with a nice barging try to hooker Effie Ma’afu.
Scrumhalf Harry Nucifora duly converted and would go on to harvest nine points from two other conversions and a nicely taken penalty goal in the first half.
NSW Gen Blue hit back in the 15th minute with a try off the back of a rolling maul close to the Queensland Reds tryline to Harry Johnson-Holmes but that would be the last time the visitors would trouble the scoreboard attendant until Kepu Lokotui got around the edge of the Reds defence in the 76th minute.
The Reds went into the break with a 24-5 lead after tries from flyhalf Hamish Stewart and centre Dylan Riley and that penalty goal from Nucifora.
That dominance was brought about largely by the work of the Reds' backrow of Angus Scott-Young, skipped Liam Wright and No.8 Reece Hewart.
They harassed the NSW Gen Blue attackers all day and were able to turn the ball over seemingly at will.
This pressure also saw the NSW Gen Blue’s lineout malfunction badly and it wasn’t until the second half when reserve hooker Jack Nettleton came off the bench that the visitors were able to get any worthwhile ball from their throw in.
Young Reds flyhalf Stewart was everyone’s pick as Man of the Match and he topped off his day by converting Hunt’s try after the bell from right in front.
Queensland Reds U20s 36
Tries: Effie Ma’afu, Hamish Stewart 2, Dylan Riley, Tony Hunt
Conversions: Harry Nucifora 3
Penalties: Harry Nucifora
NSW Gen Blue U20s 10
Tries: Harry Johnson-Holmes, Kepu Lokotui
All Super U20s matches will be LIVE stream on RUGBY.com.au and Super Rugby channels throughout the 2017 season.