Both Queensland sides have failed to fire a shot on the opening day of the Australian Schoolboy Championship.
QLD I were the first to fall, ACT recording a stunning victory in the final minute, before QLD II were bettered by a willing Combined States outfit that only met each other for the first time on Thursday.
NSW, in contrast, were hardly troubled in their clashes with Western Australia and Victoria.
NSW II actually looked just as strong as NSW I and if Day One form is anything to go by, that pair, along with ACT, look the strongest of the sides.
Here's how the day played out.
3:45pm - Combined States 28 QLD II 22
Combined States controlled the first 10 minutes and a pinpoint cross field kick from Jack Walsh hit Stirling Doyle on the chest to open the scoring.
Walsh scored a try of his own a minute later, this time the beneficiary of his own superb cutout pass which caught the Queenslanders napping and started a line break down the left hand sideline.
He followed the supporting run of Michael Pavlakis to catch the final pass and streak away to score under the sticks.The Queenslanders had not entered the Combined States 22 in the opening quarter but when they did, a big scrum created space for Josh Vuta to work with and the halfback set up Viliami Lea for the easiest try he will score this tournament.
It took a superb lineout play, in which Rhys van Nek found Lachlan Connors, who flicked it back to the hooker, for the Queenslanders to score their second and narrow the margin to a 14-10 at the break.
Combined States looked the better of the two teams as they emerged from the sheds and Harry Turner extended the lead soon after.QLD II returned serve with Lea’s second, the scrum again setting the platform for a 60m movement which saw each of the backs draw and pass before the left winger finished with a strong run.
A dumb offload from Carter Gordon gifted Tristan Reilly the sealer, though, as QLD II met the same fate as their QLD I counterparts.
Eye catchers - QLD II
Rhys van Nek - Scored a brilliant try from a lineout and did plenty of work defensively in a pack that struggled.
Emile Tuimavave - Was the Queensland pack’s best source of go forward and formed part of a first half scrum that held its own.
Lachlan Connors - Orchestrated the lineout with a cool head, carried well and did plenty of tough stuff at the breakdown.
Eye catchers - Combined States
Jack Walsh - Looked as sharp as any other player on Day One. Had a hand in both CS first half tries, setting up the first before setting up and finishing the second.
Michael Pavlakis - A constant source of attacking threat from the back. Made Queensland pay for some average in game kicking.
Harry Turner - Came on and looked the most accomplished openside flanker of the day. Scored a try but it was his hard nosed work at the defensive breakdown which made the biggest impact.
QLD II 22
Tries: Lea 2, van Nek
Combined States 28
Tries: Doyle, Walsh, Turner, Reilly
Cons: Pavlakis 4
2:20pm - NSW I 38 VIC 8
NSW I has followed NSW II’s victory with one of their own on Day One of the Australian Schools Championship, running out dominant 38-8 winners over Victoria.
NSW I winger Albert Hopoate got the scoring underway, showing some serious gas as he tip-toed his way down the sideline to cross in the corner.Victoria hit back through Harry Ma’o and also notched a penalty to briefly hit the lead but a try to Williams and followed by another right on half time to scrumhalf Henry Robertson sent the NSW I side to the break ahead 17-8.
NSW were also the first to cross in the second stanza as the rain started to fall, a break by Hopoate down the sideline kick starting the momentum with Will Lloyd finishing it off on the other side of the field.
The wet weather caused the game to become more of a grind from that point forward and Victoria refused to go away before NSW I fullback Tom Woodcock put NSW further in front, running a strong line and crossing under the dot.Hopoate found himself in the thick of things again right on full time, as the ball was sent through several sets of hands before the winger crossed for a double.
Eye catchers - NSW I
Albert Hopoate - Showed a clean set of heels to get the first try of the match and was a handful all afternoon when given some early ball. Ended up with a double late in the game.
Tom Woodcock - The NSW fullback showed plenty of signs he’s one to watch for the remainder of the tournament. Very strong running counter attacks on more than occasion helping get his side on the front foot.
Eye catchers - VIC
Sione Tui - Not to be outdone by the opposite number 15, the Victorian fullback showed class and good positional play to always find himself in the right spot. One to watch in their next two games.
NSW I 38
Tries: Hopoate 2, Williams, Robertson, Lloyd, Woodcock
Cons: Donaldson 2, Woodcock
12:45pm - ACT 20 QLD I 18
The tournament's first thriller.
ACT had all the early momentum and turned that pressure into points with some clean running lines and similarly crisp passing, flyhalf William Goddard and centre Jack Gilmour putting Brendan Jimenez through a hole for the first points of the match.
QLD I turned to their scrum to wrestle back ascendency and that set piece play was the catalyst for their two first half tries - Jangala Benett producing a magical right foot step to go over untouched before Jordan Petaia showed serious power as he pumped his legs through contact to score.There was some superb rugby played by both sides in what was a really good second half, ACT crossing through Wyll Holland before both teams traded penalties from the accurate boots of Goddard and Campbell Parata.
It was a Goddard penalty in the final minute which sealed victory for an ecstatic ACT side, as QLD I were dealt a significant blow in their quest for a national title.
Here's who caught the eye from either side.
Eye catchers - QLD I
Moses Alo-Emile - Was the man behind the majority of the scrum dominance and added a stack of powerful carries to that set piece work.
Noah Lolesio - Provided a perfect link as a second playmaker but showed he knows when the time is right to sneak through a hole.
Jengala Bennett - Reeled off a breathtaking right foot step to score Queensland's first.
Campbell Parata - Perhaps a touch too deep at flyhalf in attack but organised his pack well, nearly kicked his side to victory off the tee and looks to have built a slick combination with Lolesio in midfield.
Eye catchers - ACT
William Goddard - Controlled the game at flyhalf with a flat attack that repeatedly put Queensland on the back foot. Has a potent right boot that picked off field position at will and kicked his side to victory off the tee. The best player on the ground.
Jack Kearns - Looks to be a second row talent with plenty of potential. Did some great work at the lineout which ACT dominated, was responsible for several counter rucks which put QLD under pressure and carried the ball well.
Seamus Smith - Loved his work at halfback. Was really quick to the breakdown, cleared the ball as soon as he arrived and that allowed Goddard to put the likes of Kearns over the gain line.
QLD I 18
Tries: Bennett, Petaia
Pens: Parata 2
Tries: Jimenez, Holland
Cons: Goddard 2
Pens: Goddard 2
11:10am - NSW II 40 WA 0
An entertaining start to the tournament.
WA were sharp with ball in hand but struggled to slow down NSW II ball and were subsequently left scrambling for numbers for each of the NSW II first half tries.
The second half was error ridden and the opening NSW II try was a consequence of two very poor, ill-fated passes from WA in their own 22, gifting Finn Wright a simple five pointer.
The NSW II set piece impressed in the second half, as did the work of flyhalf Dominic Easy and Ed Pullman, but it was the work of the following players which caught the eye.
Eye catchers - NSW II
Liam Cornish - A backrow talent with a genuine appetite for hard work. Put his hand up for big carry after big carry and there were some solid hits in his defensive portfolio as well.
Harry Wilson - Caught the eye with a duking, evasive run that left three WA defenders grasping at air for a first half try.
Hunter Ward - Followed Cornish's lead in continuously finding the advantage line with some big carries.
Thomas Yassmin - Threatened to score a try in the first half with a brilliant individual chip and chase and showed a terrific turn of foot every time he touched the footy. Has a big frame for a schoolboy and looked his team's most dangerous back.
Eye catchers - WA
Luke Kapene - The outside centre was strong with each carry and provided terrific go forward for a backline that lacked exactly that.
Samuel Barsby - The flyhalf organised his forwards with aplomb, has a raking right boot and knows when to attack the line and when to spread the ball.
NSW II 40
Tries: Burgess, Wilson, Pullman, Wright, Yassmin, Bell
Cons: Savala 2, Easy 3
All schoolboys teams 1-23.
Charlie Baker, Stuart Brown, Harrison Cannon,Cooper Chambers, Isaac Crone, Brady Dawson, Joel Ellis, Dougal Hicks, Ben Joseph, Emit Keepa, Jeremy Kempston, William Kirk, Willie Manu, Will McCormick, Michael Pavlakis, Tristan Reilly, James Sidery, David Stowers, Bruce Tevaga, Emosi Tuqiri, Harry Turner, Jack Walsh, Jack Winchester, David Idstein
Australian Capital Territory Schools
Fred Kaija, Lachlan Lonergan, Zane Hogan, Thomas Iles, Jack Kearns, Lachlan Osborne, Stuart Sellar, Well Holland, Seamus Smith, William Goddard, Petal Lefau, Harry Quinlan, Jack Gilmour, Thomas Haddad, Brendan Jimenez, Nicholas Katsogiannis, Tauati Chan-Tung, Jean-Vincent de Masson, Zane Marolt, Connor Smith, Joel Atkins, Isaac Crowe, Lincoln Smith
New South Wales I
Bo Abra, Ciaran Loh, Darcy Breen, Max Douglas, Nick Frost, Luca Moretti, Donny Freeman, Charlie Rorke, Henry Robertson, Ben Donaldson, Will Lloyd, Brooklyn Hardaker, Billy Smith, Albert Hopoate, Thomas Woodcock, Will Johnston, Apenisa Driti, Max Cutrone, Jeremy Williams, Luke Reimer, Dylan Dowling, Joey Walton, Lachlan Ilias
New South Wales II
Angus Bell, Will Bremner, Finn Wright, Mac Williams, Ek Lambert-Leplastrier, Liam Cornish, Matthew Stead, Hunter Ward, Marco Bell, Dominic Easy, Jayden Burgess, Ed Poolman, Angus Bell, Tom Yasmin, Harry Hayward, Simon Rahme, Luke Edwards, Joel Thomas, Will Harris, Henry Whelan, David Tejcek, Charlie Savala, Harry Wilson
Egan Siggs, Eugene Koorts, Moses Alo-Emile, Harry Wilson, Trevor Hosea, Tom Kibble, Joseph Small, Cullen Ngamanu, Phoenix Hunt, Campbell Parata, Clyde Rapilla, Noah Lolesio, Jordan Petaia, Jangala Bennet, Maxwell Dowd, Theo Fourie, Clinton Malolua, John Paul Tominiko, Fred Fewtrell, Joseph Faulalo, Jaz Day, Harry McMahon, Ben Bucknell
Prynce Taugaele, Rhys van Nek, Emile Tuimavave, Ryan Gassman, Kurt Kruwinnus, Bailey Tautau, Kohan Herbert, Lachlan Connors, Josh Vuta, Cooper Whiteside, Viliami Lea, Hoani Ford-Stevens, Xavier Soli, Mila Lalotoa, Byron Ralston, Nesta Mahina, Tyrell Kopua, Sinilau Wolske, Will Chaffey, Braydon Law, Rhian Stowers, Carter Gordon, Tausaga Foai
Oliver Barden, Chris Mounga, Alex Sa'aga, Jack O'Shaughnessy, Toeleiu Junior Vaeila, Jonathan Lightfoot, Kenneth Leota, Isaac Aedo Kailea, Aukusitino Lalotoa, Angus Edwards, Harry Kolio Ma'o, Paul Faoagali, Navarre Haisila-Lokotui, Haloti Fonua Jnr, Sione Tui, Charlie Carter, Emmaunual Maliko, Wallace Purcell, Liae Tuilagi, Benjamin Anau, Alex Samuela, Sam Tuibua, Ti-Qwan Lega
Western Australian Schools
Victor Harris, William Tui, Tiago Valentim, Jackson Pugh, Liam Van Der Heyden, Marnus Spangenberg (VC), Carlo Tizzano, Brody MacAskill (C), Reece Anapu, Sam Barsby, Walker Smith, Luke Kapene, Nika Morehu, Mayson Hill, Christian Bavadra, Harry Daynes, Jordan Grant, Connor O'Sullivan,Lapo Bigazzi, James Gray, John-Martin Stewart, Lachlan Hardy, Grason Maraka.
Match day 1 – Monday 3 July
10:00am - NSW II v WA
11:30am - QLD I v ACT
1:00pm - NSW I v VIC
2:30pm - QLD II v CS
Match day 2 – Wednesday 5 July
10:00am - CS v NSW I
11:30am - QLD I v WA
1:00pm - QLD II v VIC
2:30pm - ACT v NSW II
Match day 3 – Thursday 6 July
10:00am - VIC v CS
11:30am - WA v ACT
1:00pm - NSW II v QLD I
2:30pm - NSW I v QLD II
Match day 4 – Saturday 8 July
8:45am - Pool A 4th v Pool B 4th (not live)
8:45am - Pool A 3rd v Pool B 3rd
10:00am - Pool A 2nd v Pool B 2nd
11:30am - Pool A 1st v Pool B 1st