QLD Premier Rugby Round 13: UQ Enter Top Four After Last-Minute Winner; Norths Blow Big Chance
By Finn Morton; Photo – Brendan Hertel/QRU Media
After looking down and out a month ago, UQ defeated Wests to win their third game in a row which has kept their season well and truly alive.
The Students avenged their 70-21 hiding by Wests in Round 4 by beating the Bulldogs 21-14 in St Lucia on Saturday.
A loss would’ve seen UQ sit well outside of playoff contention with only four rounds to play. But instead they left their season-defining play until the last minute of a match already filled with drama.
With the final play, UQ scrumhalf Jacobus Van Eeden crossed from close range to score his second try of the game.
While the halfback was thrilled with the try, he didn’t want to take all the credit for the score which he believed was a result of both training and teamwork.
“The defence from Wests on their line was excellent all game but we were patient in their red zone. After keeping them down on their line for more than ten phases, I spotted an opportunity and took it,” Van Eeden said modestly.
“The confidence [to take the line on inside the last minute] comes from training for that exact situation which we have been doing in recent weeks.
“It was just a case of muscle memory taking over.”
UQ now sit in fourth on the Queensland Premier Rugby ladder, a reality which seemed near impossible three weeks ago when the Students slumped to seventh.
But it just shows how close this competition is.
That is why Van Eeden is adamant that every game is “critical” with seven becoming four in August.
“I think we deserved to win against Wests. The match was a good physical battle from both sides. They are a really good side and we butchered quite a few opportunities which is disappointing but ultimately we were rewarded for our patience and got the chocolates.
“This was an important win especially at this stage of the season. [We’re] creating momentum for us leading up to finals footy.
“At this stage of the season every win is critical. There are seven teams competing for a spot in the finals and with the start we had to season we do not have the luxury of dropping a game.”
Even though most would call “taking it one week at a time” a sporting cliché, that is exactly how the Students are approaching the remainder of the regular season as they look to secure a once unlikely finals birth.
“Are we good enough to win the whole thing? Definitely. We will have to keep improving as we have done the past couple of week [but] we are miles off the finished article.
“It sounds like a cliché but we really are just taking it one week at a time. We will do the preparation this week for Norths and make sure we are as ready as we can be for them.”
In the other games, last-placed Norths gave up a commanding 26-point half-time lead to lose to ladder-leaders Brothers 26-42.
Bond upset Easts at Bottomley Park 18-17, a result which could have major ramifications for both sides as they look to remain in the hunt for August footy.
Souths reclaimed the Torkington Daley Cup for the first time in eight years after upsetting GPS 29-28 at Yoku Road.