QLD Premier Rugby: Round 6 Match Previews
Easts head west, Souths take on Bond first up, Sunnybank travel to play an out of sorts UQ side and Jeeps host potential giant killers Norths’.
We spoke to all the clubs to get the latest ahead of their round six clashes this weekend.
Photo: QRU Media
Wests v Easts
Wests matched Jeeps for the opening hour of last week’s clash at Yoku Road but couldn’t stay with the defending premiers in the championship minutes.
“They got the better of us at scrum time, particularly in the second half and we hardly had the ball because of that dominance,” Bulldogs coach Pat Byron said.
“I thought the rest of our game was quite sound, but we just didn’t have enough ball and bombed a few chances with forward passes.”
“To beat the best teams, you have to be good in all areas of the game, all game. We’re improving, but still have some learning and improving to do.”
Tighthead prop Ausetalia Vaiomanu returns to Byron’s starting side to play Easts, in the only change to last week’s team.
“Similar to GPS it will be a physical, set piece style game. Easts’ set piece has been good all year and they have some good physical carriers in the forward pack.
“Plus, Matt Gordon at 12 is obviously a quality player.”
Easts fell just short in a 26-24 loss to Souths last week in a match they really should have won after claiming complete dominance at scrum time.
The Tigers earned two penalty tries from scrums and attacked against 14 men for an hour, but still couldn’t find a way to win.
“Our decision making was poor last week, in our kicking and option taking and we’ve worked a lot on that this week,” Easts coach Mosese Rauluni told Rugby News.
“Our linespeed was also poor and we spent too much time waiting for them in defence. It’s too hard to stop Souths’ momentum when you do that.”
The Tigers have lost another flyhallf to injury and have called in Preston Springhall to wear the No.10 jersey.
“Wests are a very good attacking team so we need to stop them at the gainline and be smarter about where we kick to them and how we chase those kicks.”
Souths v Bond
Souths were lucky to come away with the points against Easts last week after leaving their long studs at home and getting decimated at scrum time.
Magpies coach Elia Tuqiri said the set piece woes were a worry, but was thrilled that his side still found a way to win and move back into the top four.
“It was a great win, considering everything that went against us. The boys showed tremendous character,” Tuqiri told Rugby News.
“We’ve spent a fair bit of time on our scrum this week and got in a few extra reps to try and sort out those issues. We’ve also Franko Abdulla to start in the front row.”
The Magpies are 2-3 after five rounds and will take a lot more confidence into next week’s bye if they can find a way past Bond this weekend.
“Like Easts, Bond have a very big pack and strong Set piece. We need to ensure our set piece is firing and that we win the collisions on both sides of the ball.”
Bond will have had a 20 day spell between their last clash before Easter and tomorrow’s match against Souths and it will be interesting to see how they respond.
“We used the double bye as a chance for everyone to take a break and get away from rugby, so the boys had 10 days off with take home programs. We came back late last week and the boys have freshened and are ready for this next eight game block.
The Gold Coast side will like the look of tomorrow’s weather forecast, with plenty of rain predicted, but Harris said his side will still have to stay on their toes in defence.
“We need to control possession and limit their opportunities for turn over attack. To do that, we’ve got to be accurate when we exit and clear our own end on our kick chase.”
UQ v Sunnybank
UQ had their pants pulled down by Norths in the final 20 minutes of their clash at Hugh Courtney Oval last weekend and have now dropped out of the top four after conceding 106 points in two straight losses.
Despite that, the Red Heavies don’t seem too concerned about their early season slump and seem confident they can turn things around fairly quickly.
“Our knowledge and execution in defence has really let us down over the past few weeks,” UQ captain James Dalgleish told Rugby News.
“We’re scoring more than enough points to win games but our defensive effort needs to improve.”
“Losing a few games in a row does raise some concerns but I wouldn’t say I’m worried. We’ve worked hard at training to rectify any issues and have more than enough talent to get our season back on track.”
Dalgleish said he’s been happy with how his side has been attacking so far this year, but he knows that might still not be enough this weekend.
“If we can compete defensively with Sunnybank we‘ll be a good chance of winning.”
Sunnybank produced a fairly solid performance in a 31-20 loss to Brothers last week but weren’t able to match the competition leaders at crucial points of the game.
“I think our lineout functioned a lot better that it has been and at times we absorbed plenty of pressure.
“Unfortunately, there was just a period where Brothers had momentum and a good side that is always going to capitalise.
The Dragons will be without both Lucas brothers this weekend but David Feliuai returns to the starting side after missing last week.
“UQ are a quality side and in recent times they’ve been one of the benchmark teams in the competition. We know they’ll want to bounce back this week so we’re expecting a tough encounter,” Virtue continued.
“We just really need to focus on ourselves and execute well when opportunities present themselves.”
GPS v Norths
Jeeps coach Elwee Prinsloo kept his side on the field over the Easter break to top up their conditioning and it paid immediate dividends in the later stages of last week’s win over Wests.
The Gallopers’ scored two tries in the final 15 minutes to claim their first win of the season and can secure their spot at the pointy end of the ladder with another win at Yoku Road this weekend.
“I feel as though we’re building and improving a little bit each week. We still left some points out there through unforced errors which is frustrating, but it’s pleasing that we’re building some pressure,” Prinsloo told Rugby News.
“Norths are going to be full of confidence coming off last week’s win, so we’re going to need to keep improving.”
Norths shocked everyone when they fought back from 26-14 down and scored 22 unanswered points in the final 30 minutes to claim an upset win over UQ.
After claiming their first win of 2019, Norths are now just five points outside of the top four and can get their season right back on track if they can cause a second straight upset this weekend.