University storm home to edge Sunnybank
Sunnybank came out firing following their slow start against Brothers in Round 1 and took advantage of some sloppy University play early on.
First points came within the first ten minutes as winger Peter Lee swept in on a loose pass from The Students and beat opposite number Harry Parker in a foot race to score in the corner.
However, University scrumhalf Will Thompson responded immediately as he exposed some lazy Dragons defence around the fringe of the breakdown, selling a dummy from the base of the ruck and beating the cover defence to put the home side back in front, 7-5.
The next 20 minutes saw Sunnybank camped inside the University 22 and they were rewarded with two more tries, Shane Tasi and Sam Rochester the two players to cross the line following some average University defence.
UQ coach Mick Heenan was quick to highlight his side’s defence as an area that still poses problems.
“Our defence is still an issue for us. I wasn’t happy with our defence last week and we still let in too many soft tries today,” Heenan said.
“For whatever reason we weren’t working hard enough off the ball in the first half and we let Sunnybank get a bit of a roll on.”
Both sides touched down once more before half time, as Sunnybank took a 24-14 lead into the break.
University scored four tries to one in an exciting second half, as The Students dominated the breakdown and received an injection of energy in the form of substitutes Campbell Walkely, Tom Banks, Kane Boucaut and Harry Elliott.
Heenan highlighted the importance of winning the battle at the breakdown against such a strong side in the form of Sunnybank.
“When you play Sunnybank you have to win that contest and they were putting it on us in the first half so that was a big focus for us coming out of half time.”
Sunnybank coach Rod Seib cut a dejected figure following two close losses in a row for his side against high quality opposition.
“When we really needed to step up we lost our way. Our game management can definitely be improved and it’s definitely disappointing to lose such a close game.” Seib said.
Seib pointed to the loss of intensity at the breakdown contributing to his side’s demise in the second half.
“In the second half they were a lot harder at the breakdown than we were and we really lapsed off,
“Perhaps we were looking at the next phase too much rather than consolidating our own ball there but when it came down to it they essentially showed that they wanted it a bit more than us and when it came down to desire and attitude they won the day and that’s why they’re getting the points.”
University will face Norths at Hugh Courtney Oval in Round 3 of Queensland Premier Rugby, while Sunnybank will host their first home game as they welcome Bond University to Oldmac Oval.
University 38 (H Elliot 2 tries; J De Guingend, W Thompson, G Kalell, T Banks tries; T Pincus 4 con) def Sunnybank 31 (P Lee 2 tries; S Tasi, B Mitchell, S Rochester tries; M Third 3 con)
By Sam Phillips (Courtesy of the QRU)