ACT, QLD II through to Australian Schools final

by Sam Phillips

With the third and final day of pool matches in the book, ACT and QLD II will square off in Saturday's Australian Schoolboys Championship final.

ACT are the only undefeated side at the tournament and will go into the match as favourites, with QLD II booking their place in the final after pulling off a thrilling upset in the final match of the day against NSW I.

They progress to the final on bonus points ahead of NSW I, who will face QLD I for third.

The other results today mean NSW II and Combined States will play for fifth and Victoria and Western Australia square off for seventh.

Match day 4 – Saturday 8 July

8:45am - WA vs VIC (not live) - seventh place playoff

8:45am - Combined States vs NSW II - fifth place playoff 

10am - QLD I vs NSW I - third place playoff

11:30am - ACT vs QLD II - final


Combined States 45 Victoria 7

ACT 36 WA 19

QLD I 33 NSW II 19


Here's how the day panned out.


3:45pm - QLD II 27 NSW 25

There was no problem turning early pressure into points for NSW I, Bo Abra driving over for a try in their first foray into the QLD II 22.

Braydon Law picked up from where he left off yesterday, levelling the score with a big pick and drive burst to cross under the posts.

QLD II took control of the game after Law crossed and a crisp ball from Cooper Whiteside off the back of a scrum found Mila Lalotoa, the Aspley State High product brushing some flimsy NSW I defence before hitting Viliami Lea on the chest for a well worked try.NSW I couldn't overcome a desperate QLD II side. Photo: WatsonWhiteside missed a simple penalty soon after and NSW I made them pay, flyhalf Ben Donaldson making a break down the left hand sideline, brushing two tackles and finding the support run of Will Lloyd, who scored to put NSW I in front 15-12 at the break.

NSW I extended their lead almost immediately after the break thanks to some quick thinking from Jeremy Williams, the lanky lock picking the ball up and running straight over the top of a ruck to score.

Josh Vuta then set up the try which put the Queenslanders back in it, scooting away off the back of a scrum, drawing two defenders and putting Carter Gordon over.

Star No. 8 Lachlan Connors set up the next try, as steamed through the middle of the NSW defensive line from the ensuing kick off before throwing a perfect pass at full tilt.

That pass hit Lea on the chest, the Ipswich Grammar product finding the line for the second time to put the Queenslanders in front.QLD II are through to the final after a thrilling win over NSW I. Photo: WatsonBut the boot of Donaldson put NSW I back in front by a point, allowing for a grandstand finish.

A penalty with five to play had Carter Gordon pointing to the sticks, the reserve flyhalf stepping up from 25 metres out and directly in front to slot the match winner.

The upset sealed a final berth for QLD II, with NSW I now having to settle for third.

They will face ACT on Saturday.

Eye catchers - NSW I

Ben Donaldson

Glides across the turf at flyhalf and is as strong a runner as he is a playmaker. Set up a much needed try on the half time siren by brushing two QLD II defenders, keeping his balance before dishing the final pass.

Eye catchers - QLD II

Lachlan Connors

Couldn’t have been more impressive. Has been the most destructive ball carrier at the tournament and that was on full display when he set up the try that put QLD II in front early in the second half.

Viliami Lea

Huge hit to turn the ball over early that swung momentum for the Queenslanders. Followed that defensive effort with a nice finish for QLD II’s second five pointer before scoring another in the second term.

Braydon Law

Always in and around the breakdown on the defensive side of the ball and is similarly among the first to put his hand up for a carry. Those carries are powerful, too.

Josh Vuta

Queensland have a pair of potential star halfbacks on hand with Phoenix Hunt and Vuta. Both play similar styles, sniffing out holes in the opposition defensive line while urgently pushing the play along.


NSW I 25

Tries: Abra, Lloyd, Williams

Cons: Donaldson 2

Pens: Donaldson 2


Tries: Law, Lea 2, Gordon

Cons: Whiteside, Gordon

Pens: Gordon

2:15pm - QLD I 33 NSW II 19

QLD I had all the ball early and a penalty allowed Campbell Parata to step up and slot the first points of the match.

That was followed by a fantastic try, a strong run by Cullen Ngamanu splitting the line before some clean ball from Phoenix Hunt finds Ngamanu again, who hit Clyde Rapilla unmarked on the left wing for the first try.

QLD I had all the momentum through the first 20 and Parata added another a penalty to open up a 11-0 lead.

That lead was mostly built on some bone rattling tackles when NSW II had the ball, stunting any momentum they started to building the QLD II half.QLD I were too strong for NSW II. Photo: WalmsleyA series of strong carries from the QLD I tight five created space in the NSW II half late in the first term, another perfect ball from Hunt finding Harry Wilson, who showed good sleight of hand to get the ball away to hooker Eugene Koorts, before Ben Bucknell found himself on the end of a crisp chain of passes to open up a 16-0 lead at the break.

Bucknell had a double in the minutes after half time, producing a clean finish after Hunt sparked the break with a quick tap.

Tom Yassmin had threatened with every touch and he put NSW II on the board with a strong finish through contact, returning serve after Bucknell’s second try.

But QLD II hit back immediately, a charge down cleaned up by Ngamanu, who produced a brilliant pop pass from the floor to put Petaia under the sticks.NSW II will finish third of four teams in Pool B. Photo: WalmsleyYasmin showcased his talent once again in scoring NSW II’s next, the big, loping winger picking off a QLD II pass for an intercept and running 80 metres to score.

That triggered a brilliant spurt of play from NSW II, as they put together big carry after big carry to create the space for Jayden Burgess to score.

But QLD I held on and secured a third place playoff berth in the process.

Eye catchers - NSW II

Angus Bell (prop)

There are two Angus Bell’s in this NSW II side but the Newington College prop was the one that caught the eye today. He carries really well with every touch despite an enormous workload, holds his own at scrum time and flies out of the line looking to put hits on defensively.

Tom Yassmin

Was NSW II’s best attacking threat. Scored the team’s first two tries but showed he can do it in contrasting styles in doing so. The first try required strength to power through would be tacklers, while the second five pointer was an 80 metre intercept that took every bit of pace he had in the tank.

Eye catchers - QLD I

Harry Wilson

Haven’t seen a lock with hands like Wilson in a long time. Looks like he could play at flyhalf, such is the standard of his link play. Gets stuck in defensively as well.

Tom Kibble

Won’t hear his name called much but he was leading the pack defensively and hardly misses a clean out.

Cullen Ngamanu

It’s said that 80 percent of success is showing up and Ngamanu certainly has that covered. Always running support lines, always putting his hand up to carry and always looking to link up to put his teammates through holes.

Phoenix Hunt

May be the best halfback at the tournament. Looks for holes either side of the breakdown and he is really quick to get there as well. Love his pass, which strayed once or twice but otherwise hit runners in front every time.



Tries: Yassmin 2, Burgess

Cons: Minogue 2


QLD I 33

Tries: Rapilla, Bucknell 2, Petaia

Cons: Parata 2

Pens: Parata 3

12:45pm - ACT 36 WA 19

The two teams slotted one penalty each in the opening seven minutes but even with Victor Harris in the bin for a lifting tackle, WA had the momentum in the opening quarter.

The boot of Christian Bavadra had the Western Australians in front 6-3 at that point and they had strong defence and some very loose ACT carries in their own half to thank for that lead.

They only held that lead until the 22 minute mark, though, as ACT declined to take the three points on offer and mauled their way over the line for Connor Smith to score the first try of the match.

ACT cleaned up an unkind bounce from a raking clearance kick three minutes later and in two phases time, Isaac Crowe threw a perfect pass to put Petau Lefau over for their second try.ACT proved too strong for a resilient WA side. Photo: WatsonACT then blew the game open with a charge down try, Crowe rewarded for unselfish play minutes earlier when he dotted down to open up a 24-6 lead at the break.

WA had all the ball in the opening minutes of the second term and after Carlo Tizzano was stopped one metre short from the line, Brody Macaskill drove his way over to narrow the gap to 24-11.

That gap was then narrowed to 24-18 when Macaskill set up another try, the No. 8 making ACT pay for some sloppy pillar defence when he pinched a break and passed to Jackson Pugh for the try.

But just as the Western Australians looked as though they may run over the top and seal victory, Crowe cleaned up a Sam Barsby drop ball to score under the posts for the sealer.

Eye catchers - ACT

Lachlan Osborne

Pulled off a massive pilfer penalty in the WA 22 at the 19 minute mark and that was exemplary of his play all day. Churns through defensive work and is always looking to carry over the gain line off his halves.

Will Goddard

Kicked the lights out again. Has to be a strong contender for Australian Schools flyhalf as he can turn any penalty inside the opposition half into points. Helps that his general play kicking is similarly precise and that his pass is crisp on either side.

Zane Hogan

Strong scrummager at tighthead prop that goes looking for work on either side of the ball.

Eye catchers - WA

Brody Macaskill

Has been one of WA’s best all tournament and today was his most impressive performance yet. Was probably the best forward on the ground, consistently picking off metres past the gain line. Runs smart lines and clearly has a good rugby brain.

Lapo Bigazzi

Liked his intent as a link between forwards and packs. Threw some nice passes but also isn't afraid to run hard, straight lines off his halves.


ACT 36

Tries: C Smith, Lefau, Crowe 2,Iles

Cons: Goddard 3, Haddard 2

Pens: Goddard

WA 18

Tries: Macaskill, Pugh


Pens: Bavadra 2

11:15am - Combined States 45 Victoria 7

Combined States had all the footy early and turned pressure into points with a determined run from Harry Turner, the star flanker setting off an a weaving route before fighting through contact to reach out and score.

Combined States also controlled the set piece battle and after a big shove five out from the Victorian line, flyhallf Isaac Crone found Jack Walsh, who hit Charlie Baker out the back of a block play, the winger slipping a flimsy Victorian tackle to score the second try of the day.

Crone continued to control the CS attack while camped in the Victorian half and a simple set play off the back of another big scrum put Stirling Doyle over, opening up a 21-0 lead within 15 minutes.Victoria were no match for Combined States. Photo: WatsonCS picked up where they left off immediately after the break, the restart falling to Harrison Cannon, who split the line immediately and found that man Turner again, who showed good pace to run 40 metres, stave off Victorian defenders and extend the lead to 26-0.

The Victorians finally responded with a big run from impressive prop Oliver Barden followed by a powerful burst from his front row partner Alex Sa’aga, the Melbourne Grammar product punching through some willing CS defence to score.

Turner returned serve but this time he was setting up Doyle’s second try, cleaning up a poor pass from William Kirk and dishing a slick pass to Doyle to open up a 33-7 lead.Combined States put together a strong seven try performance against Victoria. Photo: WatsonDoyle had his third five minutes later, following up his terrific, 60 metre line break with a clean finish from a 3-on-2 overlap in the left hand corner.

Harrison Cannon was rewarded for his tireless work at lock with the final try, rounding out a comprehensive win.

Eye catchers - Combined States

Harry Turner

Three games, three stellar performances from the openside flanker. Scored a great try to open the CS account and acted as a quality link in attack when he wasn’t hunting pilfers in defence. Always pops up with support lines and that was the catalyst for his second try. Will be very hard to go past as an Australian Schoolboy selection. 

Isaac Crone

Life as a flyhalf is a lot easier when the CS pack was as dominant as it was today but the Brisbane State High product set up two first half tries with perfect passes from well orchestrated set plays, kicked well in general play and kept putting his backs through holes.

Stirling Doyle

Ran hard and straight off Crone’s hip all match and was rewarded with a hat trick. Has a sharp turn of foot and isn't afraid to shift infield to hunt work.

Eye catchers - Victoria

Oliver Barden

Had one brilliant, leg pumping line break and was sticking his head in plenty of defensive breakdowns. Really mobile, athletic loosehead prop that didn't stop trying all day.


Combined States 45

Tries: Turner 2, Baker, Doyle 3, Cannon

Cons: Pavlakis 4, Crone


Victoria 7

Tries: Sa'aga

Cons: Fonua Jnr



All schoolboys teams 1-23

Combined States 

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

Queensland I

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

Queensland II

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

Victorian Schools

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.