The NSW Country Cockatoos have taken out the first leg of the Battle of the Borders with a record-breaking 51–21 rugby union victory over the Queensland Country Blue Heelers in Lismore.
The match was highlighted by a 36-point scoring haul by Winger David Kennedy, who crossed for four tries and kicked five conversions and two penalty goals.
After a slow start which saw NSW Country go to the break leading 11–7, the Cockatoos in the second half scored a point a minute to completely dominate the Blue Heelers.
The first half was a stop-start affair with neither side able to take control, and with both sides crossing for a try it was the boot of Dave Kennedy which saw the Cockatoos go to the break with the lead.
The second half saw the Cockatoos increase the tempo and after three minutes No 8 Mike Te Moana trailed Richard Manion through a gap to cross for a converted try to take the lead out to 18–7.
This score set the scene for a Cockatoos scoring spree, which saw Kennedy bag a hat-trick of tries in a twenty-minute period, resulting in the score-line blowing out to 37–7.
During this period the Cockatoos’ pack dominated the opposition in both the set piece and at the breakdown, which saw them continually have the Blue Heelers under pressure.
The Blue Heelers had no answer to the NSW Country power and pace, which saw the Cockatoos’ scrum dominate the Blue Heelers in both attack and defence, and the backline continually making inroads on the back of the platform being set by the forwards.
With ten minutes remaining the Blue Heelers came to life, and following a lineout win in the Cockatoos’ twenty two, No 7 Lance Giles crashed over for a converted try to make the score 37–14.
The Cockatoos struck back within the next two minutes when replacement Flanker Alex Burnheim finished of an attacking raid which saw the ball move through numerous pairs of hands before he scored a converted try to increase the lead to 44–14.
With the match in injury time the Blue Heelers’ replacement winger, Pierce Saunders, powered his way over in the corner for a converted try to close the gap to 44–21.
The Cockatoos quickly replied with a converted try by Alex Burnheim following a forced turnover at the breakdown from the restart.
Players Player was awarded to replacement flanker Alex Burnheim, who crossed for two tries when he came on to replace the injured Ben Colley.
Other players to standout were prop Liam Vaughan, flanker Matt Dun, five-eighth Richard Manion and fullback Justin Placek.
NSW Country Cockatoos – 51
David Kennedy 4, Alex Burnhein 2 & Mike Te Moana Tries
David Kennedy 5 Conversions & 2 Penalty Goals.
Qld Country Blue Heelers – 21
Brett Longford, Lance Giles & Pierce Saunders Tries
Scott Davidson 3 Conversions
The return match in the of 2009 Battle of the Borders will be played at Noosa on Saturday,
6 June 2009.
Queensland Women’s Rugby 47 (Tricia Brown 2, Iliseva Batibasaga, Amy Turner, Toni Tupuhi, L Ratano tries, Lavinia Gould 6 conversions) d
Hunter Women’s Rugby 7 (Rebecca Young try, Tobie McCann conversion).