Reds take second straight Super U20s title

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Queensland’s perfect Super U20s record has delivered a second title, with the Reds beating NSW Gen Blue 49-19.

They never looked like giving up their title, controlling proceedings from the get go, over an underdog NSW Gen Blue side, with a four-try effort from winger Sam Edwards headlining the highlights.

The Reds had the early ascendancy, with the NSW Gen Blue side giving away two penalties in as many minutes and Queensland halfback Harry Nucifora converted that into a three-point advantage.

A first-half hat-trick for Edwards put them well and truly on top of a gutsy NSW side, with a 22nd minute yellow card not helping the visitors’ cause in an uphill battle.

Queensland flyhalf Hamish Stewart, named on the bench for the Reds’ Hurricanes clash on Saturday night, steered his team with the composure he’s shown all Super U20s season.

Though they dominated most areas early, the Reds U20s looked to bank points off the boot when they could, Nucifora adding a second in the 11th minute.

Edwards had two tries in four minutes as the floodgates opened for Queensland, the first pouncing on a loose ball in-goal, the second after Jayden Ngamanu blitzed the NSW defence to put them up 20-0.

NSW’s pain was compounded by a yellow card to inside centre Kepu Lokotui for a deliberate knock down, but they showed their resilience to peg one back through backrower Max Girdler, his first of two opening half tries.

Girdler was one of the better NSW players, along with hard-working captain Theo Strang, who did his best to try and turn the tide for his team.

Any New South Wales momentum was snuffed out by Edwards’ third at the half-hour mark, ending another slick attacking chain, and flanker Angus Scott-Young added their fourth with five minutes before the break.

`Girdler’s afternoon was ended early, stretchered off with an injury in the 48th minute, as Gen Blue contemplated the mammoth task ahead.

A second miracle comeback in as many weeks was too much to ask of the Gen Blue team, who overcame the Rebels in the dying seconds last weekend.

Queensland backrower Reece Hewat broke the second half deadlock in the 59th minute, after the Reds U20s took control in the scrum.

Replacement back Jackson Mohi notched a consolation try for NSW Gen Blue, but Edwards replied with his fourth, before the Reds had a late charge, and Gen Blue found themselves down to 14 again.

Queensland U20s Head coach Brad Thorn praising his side, and the opposition.

“I’m really proud of the team. The work started with the schoolboys in early December before coming together as a complete group in January. We’re talking about four months of solid work and effort which culminated in today’s performance.

“To get the win was great, but the way we won was most pleasing. They played quality Rugby and were clinical, especially in the opening 30 minutes.

“Our foundation has been our defence all season. We have built our game on that. The team's work with the ball in hand is a real credit to Paul Carozza as our attack coach. The team’s creativity, the high-quality skill set and our ability to get the ball into space meant that we created pressure everywhere.

“The depth of our squad has been a real strength. There were guys today who easily could have been in the team but didn’t play, they were very unlucky.

“Respect to New South Wales, they came to play. Despite the score line, they played right until the end."


Queensland Reds U20s 49

Tries: Edwards 4, Scott-Young, Hewat

Cons: Nucifora 5

Pens: Nucifora 3 

NSW Gen Blue U20s 19

Tries: Girdler 2, Mohi

Cons: Ramm 2

Yellow cards: Kepu Lokotui (22) NSW (75)