22nd June, 2016
Ladder-leading Bond University Colts suffered only their second defeat of the season when they travelled up to St Lucia on Tuesday night to play their deferred Round 12 match against University of Queensland. Whether it was the 3-day turnaround, the long trip up to Brisbane, the Kiwi referee or the new-look Red Heavies team is debatable. But the hard truth is that they were outplayed on the night, UQ scoring 3 tries to 2 and winning 19-12.
The loss does no harm to Bond’s standing on the table, sitting on 54 points, 3 ahead of Sunnybank, with Brothers on 44 and UQ now 40. But there’s plenty of food for thought, as UQ showed they will be a formidable foe in the finals.
Bond started slowly, with a rash of schoolboy errors. Even the reliable Hamish Stewart dropped a high ball. UQ, on the other hand, were psyched up for this match, playing an up-tempo style that saw them score their first try after ten minutes. Their lively right wing, BJ Oates, stepped his way through some sluggish defence to go over in the corner and Tom Gwyther converted. It was 7-0.
Blockbusting centre Billy Jeffress went off with a strained hamstring, replaced by Tekapo Tuaine and prop Joel Kuchel copped 10 minutes in the bin. Immediately he went off the field, UQ scored again, their number 8 Sam Wallace barging over after a tap penalty and poor defence from Bond again. Another sideline conversion made it 14-0.
When workaholic number 8 Jamison Quirk went off with a hip injury, it seemed Bond were shot ducks. But, to their credit, the boys regrouped and scored a fine try. Off the back of a rolling maul from a lineout Tom dived for the line but came up fractionally short. So, cleverly, he dropped the ball, picked it up again and this time reached the chalk. It was 14-5 at halftime.
A scathing pep-talk from Brad Harris fired up the boys from Bond and, after UQ’s big prop copped a yellow card for a “no arms” tackle, Tom McKee scored another try. From a lineout near UQ’s line, Cliff Otswald won clean ball and flipped it to Tom, peeling off the front and unstoppable from 5m out. Hamish converted and there was renewed hope of a victory.
But Alex Horan, son of Wallaby great Tim, came on at flyhalf and showed why he’s regarded as one of the best young talents in Queensland. Shrewd passing and kicking found holes in Bond’s defence and UQ finally scored again, Oates getting a double.
Vinnie Collins, on as a replacement prop, committed the unforgivable sin of giving away a penalty and then back-chatting the ref – he got 10m in the bin, which sealed Bond’s fate. The final score – UQ 19 Bond 12.
To give credit where it’s due, they were too good on the night, a far cry from the team we beat 41-10 in the first round. Their number 7, Connor Moroney was a pest all night at the breakdown and was probably their best. Tom McKee and Cliff Otswald shone for Bond but it was a night the boys will prefer to forget.
We will meet again in the finals but Bond will need a big improvement to beat a team that won last year’s premiership.
It doesn’t get any easier for the boys – on Saturday at Robina they play Souths, the only other team to have beaten them.
The Bond University Rugby Club wish to thank our valuable 2017 Corporate PartnersAll Sponsors