The final match of the 2019 Fiji Tour, where the AURL side competed in a quad-series between local teams representing Fiji National University and South Pacific University and fellow visiting representative team New Zealand Universities, was played 22 October at Bidesi & Buckhurst Park Suva, against the New Zealanders.
Of course any match between these two sides is played with a lot of passion and it took both some time to settle into a rhythm, with possession changing several times in the opening 11 minutes. However, it was the Aussies who made the first break when Dylan Izzard saw a small gap down the short side and scooted over to score wide out.
Good hands from the Aussies in the following sets allowed Izzard to turn a ball inside to Jack Brock who was able to tip on to Harrison Graham who darted in under the posts. Soon after Matt Sheppard ran a great inside line to also score under the posts and it was then Jake Sparey‘s turn to do the same.
At the 30 minute mark Alec Bush dived over for his first try of the tour and just before the break Tent Peoples steamed onto a nice ball to score. With Izzard successful with all conversions the Aussies held a commanding 36-0 lead at half time.
The Kiwis came out firing in the second stanza, scoring two quick tries early to put the Aussies on notice. However, the boys in green and gold quickly regained their composure when Captain Dalton Phillips scored under the posts. Sean Dermba then raced 60 metres to score wide out and when Peoples also crossed for his second, the Aussies were back in control, leading 54-10.
The Kiwis never gave up and scored late in the match but the Aussies kicked further away in the final minutes with tries to Declan Morrissey and Matt Butler to win the match 62-16 and bring home the quad-series trophy.
Players’ Player: Trent Peoples
AURL 62 (Trent Peoples 2, Dylan Izzard, Harrison Graham, Matt Sheppard, Jake Sparey, Alec Bush, Dalton Phillips, Sean Dermba, Declan Morrissey, Matt Butler tries; Goals: Dylan Izzard 7, Jack Miers 2) defeated NZ Universities 16
1. Dylan Izzard (vc) (ACU)
2. Jake Sparey (Griffith Uni-Logan)
3. Declan Morrissey (ACU)
4. Sam Collins (QUT)
5. Nick O’Meley (Wyong TAFE)
6. Jack Miers (Aus Trade College)
7. Ryan Cameron (Uni of Qld)
8. Jack Brock (Central Qld Uni)
9. Harrison Graham (QUT)
10. Royce Tout (Mac Uni)
11. Trent Peoples (Uni of W’gong)
12. Matt Butler (Griffith Uni)
13. Dalton Phillips (c) (Mooloolabah TAFE)
14. Alec Bush (West Syd Uni)
15. Matt Sheppard (Uni of W’gong)
16. Harrison Leonard (ACPE)
17. Max Sellars (Uni of Qld)
18. Jack Cross (Uni of W’gong)
19. Sean Dermba (Griffith College)
Coach: Todd Edwards
Training Staff: Grant Stephensen (Asst Coach), Mitch Chad & Adam Meridith (Physios), Ryan Elson (S&C)
Manager: Bob Henderson