The penultimate round of regular season John I Dent Cup action was one of the best yet, with Royals, Vikings and Queanbeyan notching impressive wins.
Check out the highlights and match reports from Round 16, as we prepare for the imminent arrival, of Finals rugby.
Royals v Eagles
Vikings v Wests
The Vikings completed a great day at home as their sides swept the games in Erindale, highlighted by a commanding performance over Wests in first grade.
Not wanting to go down in front of their home crowd at Viking Park, the red men took control from the start of the game and didn’t let up, coming home 63-14 over Wests.
An early try in thesixth minute to the Vikings gave the home side an early lead as Albert Watego went over off the back of a maul, putting on five points as captain Ryan Lonergan added two with a successful conversion.
Shortly after the opening try Wests started to mount a fightback, getting themselves inside the Vikings 22 and challenging on the line.
Drew Southwell gave his team their first try shortly after a scrum with Declan Meredith’s kick equalising the scores at 7-7.
Off the back of a Wests scrum, the Vikings were able to regain possession and get the ball off to Luke Gersekowski who fended off the defence to cross for his first five points of the game.
Another successful Lonergan conversions put the Vikings back in from 14-7.
Starting to get into a rhythm, Vikings further extended their lead just before the 20th minute as Len Ikitau notched up the team’s third try of the game, now leading 21-7 with Lonergan’s third successful conversion.
Gersekowski got his second try of the day for the Vikings in the next set of play, finding a gap and adding an extra five points, extending the home side’s lead early on in the match. The scores got to 28-7 as the try was converted.
The home side’s domination of the game showed no signs of letting up as Noah Lolesio put over a try in the left corner, making it five for the Vikings so far with only 30 minutes gone. A clutch kick from the sidelines by Lonergan extended his perfect kicking game and brought the scores out to 35-7.
A late first half try to Albert Watego and another good kick from Lonergan gave the Vikings a lead of 42-7 going into the sheds, keeping control of the game in the first 40 minutes.An early stoppage brought the first half to a halt after Wests player Te Puia Luteru was injured and knocked out in a tackle, eventually coming off the field after a head knock.
Despite the break in play, Thomas Wright gave his team the first points of the second half with Meredith converting the try, scores back at 49-7.Not wanting to lose their very comfortable cushion of a lead, Vikings struck back soon after with another seven points, leading Wests 49-14 just before the 50th minute.
It took the home side another ten minutes to put on more points, crossing the 50 point marker and now leading 56-14.With only a handful of minutes to go, Vikings sealed the match with a try to Jayme Field, giving the home side a 63-14 lead after Ikitau successfully made the conversion.
As the whistle blew, Vikings took the win in convincing fashion despite a late charge from Wests.
Queanbeyan v Easts
The Queanbeyan Whites won 27-20 over Easts in what was a close fought affair on Saturday afternoon at David Campese Oval. With not cloud in the sky, it was a great day of rugby with the First Grade teams putting on a great show, with the home side taking home the chocolates.
A strong breeze from the north-east was favouring Easts in the first half and they tried to use it to their advantage as much as possible. Trying to kick deep into Queanbeyan’s half throughout the opening stanza.
But it wasn’t mother nature that helped Easts score their first try of the day, just pure human skill. George Morseu threw the inside ball to Brumby Toni Pulu who cut back inside and found himself in open space. The 80m run looked too easy for Pulu as he streaked away into the distance bumping off helpless defenders.
Some poor handling by Queanbeyan whenever they managed to find themselves in Easts 22’ cost them many potential points. Until a terrific rolling maul by the Whites, with the ball in control at the back with hooker James Douglas, crossed over the line. A successful conversion placed Queanbeyan in front 7-5.
Whites scored the next try as their forward pack sucked in many defenders, leaving a clear path down the blindside. Tight pick n’ goes were enough for them to get across the line once again near the posts.
Easts were quick to bounce back with a big scrum on Queanbeyan’s 5m line. Number 8 Langi Lolotonga was able to dive on the ball as it bounced along the ground.
Some strong defence from the Whites forward pack around the middle of the park was a standout performance. For the majority of the first half they were able to slowly force Easts backwards and either force a penalty or mistake.
Queanbeyan lead 14-10 going to the break. With two tries each, two missed conversions by Easts proved the difference.
Queanbeyan prop Fred Kaihea opened the scoring for the second half of the match. Kaihea screamed for the ball out wide from Matt Lucas after the Whites were awarded a penalty only 5m out from Easts line.
Toni Pulu was once again in the thick of the action, this time making a break down the left hand side of the field providing Easts the perfect opportunity to score. Long passes left to right were just too much for Queanbeyan to keep up with. Morseu was the lucky one who dived over the line. Again though, an unsuccessful conversion meant that Easts were still behind, trailing 19-15.
Morseu led from the front like a true throughout the entire match. He scored his second try in terrific fashion. A step of the right foot, he was able to break the defensive line, run 60m and dive over the line. Easts led for the first time since the beginning of the match.
But a lapse in concentration and discipline costs Easts in the following five minutes. It was all too easy for the Whites to make their way up field and score through Rowland Mateyawa. The Whites re-took the lead, 24-20 with 10 minutes of play to go.
It was an even affair until the final play of the match. Easts had the ball in their possession but struggled to make any ground. A penalty was awarded to Queanbeyan who elected to go for the three points.
As the referee signalled full time, the Queanbeyan Whites were declared victorious 27-20 in what was a great game of rugby.