Queensland will host the final of the 2017 Super U20s Championship after defeating the Brumbies Colts 31-11 at Portsea Oval, Duntroon in Canberra on Sunday.
The Queensland U20s scored four tries to one, but didn’t have things all their way as the locals took the game to the visitors in what was an intriguing 80-minute arm wrestle.
The young Reds needed to win or grab a losing bonus point from the match to host the final after NSW Gen Blue nudged their way into the title decider with a 41-35 victory over the Melbourne Rebels on Friday.
Midfielder Hamish Stewart was the Reds’ best-on-ground controlling play well from flyhalf and scoring a quality try when he was shifted to inside centre as Tony Hunt was forced from the field in the first half.
The Brumbies Colts controlled much of the possession and field possession in the early stages of the match and they were rewarded with an early penalty goal to their impressive fullback Jamie Kotz.
Those points came in the fifth minute but it wasn’t until the 35th minute that the Reds got any return from their work.
That came in the form of a try to Poasa Nuimataiwalu who combined nicely on the left edge with Alex Horan, the son of Wallaby great Tim, to scoot around the defence and touch down near the posts.
Harry Nucifora converted Nuimataiwalu’s try to give the visitors a 7-3 lead, which remained unchanged until the halftime break.
The Brumbies started the second half with another penalty goal from Kotz from 45 metres out to tighten things up at 7-6, but the visitors rallied quickly who to keep the applying pressure on the locals', especially at set piece.
That pressure told when Reds outside centre Dylan Riley got himself in behind the Brumbies Colts defence and got over the line to take the score out to 14-6 with Nucifora’s conversion.At the 58th minute the young Brumbies edged closer again when confusion at a lineout on the Reds' line saw replacement lock David Verryne snaffle a try.
Kotz pushed his conversion attempt wide and it was “game on” at 14-11.
But that was the call to arms for Stewart who then added a tricky penalty goal at the 61st minute and then a great individual try in the 66th minute to push the score out to 24-11 with Elijah Pitz’s conversion.
The final play of the game was a nicely executed move for winger Will Eadie who capitalised on the great work by Horan, who once again to get around the edges of the Brumbies defence to score out wide.
Stewart converted from wide out to give the final 31-11 scoreline.
Queensland U20s head coach Brad Thorn said it was an achievement to make the final.
"But it doesn’t mean anything come next Sunday," he said.
"Each game has been different, this one had a fair amount of niggle, credit to the Brumbies they turned up to play.
“We weren’t very happy with our performance today, but our second half was improved and our reserves came on and played well off the bench.
“It was great to see Ratu (Poasa Nuimataiwalu) and Jezzy (Ioane) make their debuts. We also had some good moments at the scrum, sometimes it takes 60 minutes for the hard work to pay off.
“We won ugly today. I think the good teams in sport are those who can win the games that are a struggle. It was a good learning opportunity for the players." - Brad Thorn
“Overall it was a good reality check for the team, we have work ons to address before next weekend. NSW will feel confident heading into the game after their win over Melbourne. We have a tough game coming up next Sunday.”
Shortly after the game, competition organisers announced that the Super U20s Grand Final would be played at Ballymore in Brisbane on Sunday, April 2 with a 2pm local time, 3pm AEDT kickoff.
Brumbies Colts 11
Tries: David Verryne
Pen: Jamie Kotz 2
Queensland U20s 31
Tries: Poasa Nuimataiwalu, Dylan Riley, Hamish Stewart, Will Eadie
Con: Harry Nucifora 2, Elijah Pitz 1, Hamish Stewart
Pen: Hamish Stewart
NSW Gen Blue
Ballymore, Brisbane, Sunday, April 2, 2pm local, 3pm AEDT