QLD Premier Rugby Round 7: Key Match Ups
By Tim Mosey
Souths remain the only undefeated side after six rounds of the 2018 QLD Premier Rugby season, but just five competition points separates second from seventh.
Ahead of round seven, we thought we’d take a look at a few of the key match ups to keep an eye on around the grounds this weekend.
UQ vs Wests – Gale vs Sorovi
A mouth-watering clash at halfback sees Scott Gale pitted against Moses Sorovi.
Sorovi is the third choice halfback at the Reds and potentially beat Gale to a contract at Ballymore.
Gale has size and stature on his side and his left foot box kick generates plenty of go-forward ball for the Red Heavies.
If one were critical of Gale it would be that his running game is seldom used and his speed of service could sharpen up. A large body, his approach is similar to that of Mike Phillips of Wales.
Sorovi’s pass is sublime. His length and accuracy combine exquisitely with his speed of delivery from the base of the ruck.
Sorovi often picks runners in space before they are ready for the ball such is his vision and foresight. He could add some variety to his game though with the addition of a regular kick or snipping run – both of which he uses sporadically.
Norths vs Easts – Chittenden vs Totovaosau
Connor Chittenden has been an attacking beacon for the Eagles so far this season. His powerful running and space identification has been noteworthy in a side looking to turn their consistent performances into victories.
He has a high work rate, defensively makes tackles and his offloads keep his side on the front foot.
Savenaca Totovosau has been dynamic with ball in hand and Director of Rugby Pat Richards must be thanking his lucky stars the attacking go-to-man has entered the Tigers’ den.
The rangy outside back is a handful for defenders. His height, acceleration and elusiveness are a deadly combination.
He’ll need to focus on his defence this weekend when he lines up against a Norths side that like to attack in the wide channels.
Bond University vs Sunnybank – Fuimaono vs Den Hoedt
Rubin Fuimaono continues to show his value to Bond University. The elder statesman of the club – and indeed the first grade competition – toils hard and tight each weekend.
His lineout work is on point and his contact at the breakdown is accurate and brutally fierce.
Fuimaono strips the boots off at the conclusion of each game and heads to work to bounce the doors of clubs in Surfer’s Paradise and Broadbeach – often himself with a black eye or stitch in the face.
Nathan Den Hoedt has been a shining pillar of strength, physicality and finesse for the Dragons pack this season.
The talented second rower has given his side plenty of accelerated lineout possession and his wide running and passing game differs a little to his opponent this weekend.
Den Hoedt will have his “spidey sensors” up at the breakdown this weekend and will be hoping to avoid the juggernaut of the Bond pack around the tackle.
The tight match up between these two will go along way to deciding who gets the biscuits on Saturday.
GPS vs Souths – Casey vs Freney
Alex Casey is quite frankly not discussed enough at the representative selection table.
The strong, low centered hooker leads the Magpies astutely. His throwing can hit the six jumper under contest every time and his ball carrying eats up valuable meters one off the ruck.
He can throw a long ball and has upped his work rate over the years as his body transitioned from that of a young school boy, to a hardened first grade player.
Ryan Freney’s value to QLD Country in the NRC along with GPS at first grade level is unquestionable.
The Jeeps No.2 man would be one of the first to admit his on field affection for the conversation can be a distraction– be it with the referee or his opponent.
That aside though his work laterally across the park is unparalleled in club rugby. He often hits rucks in opposite 5m channels as the first or second forward there and his scrummaging is formidable.
Freey also provides a link option in attack that allows his outside backs the opportunity to capitalise if flyhalf Tavita Davis gets caught.
Freney will want to stay on the good side of the officials this weekend and find a strategy to let his enthusiasm for the contest drive his teams performance, rather than hinder it.