The Western Force U16s have been brought back to earth after their Round 1 win, going down to the Queensland Reds 71-14 in a lopsided Super Rugby Men’s U16 contest at Ballymore Stadium on Sunday.
The Reds scored 11 tries to the Force’s two in overcast conditions in Brisbane, with the hosts racing to a 31-0 lead inside half an hour to stamp their authority on the game.
Tries to Force pair Josh Harmer and Felix Cooper either side of half-time offered hope of a revival but the Reds added the final four tries of the game to run out comprehensive winners. Gray O’Neill and Brock Coombes scored two tries each for the Reds.
The Force, who beat the Melbourne Rebels 32-19 last weekend, will lick their wounds with the bye next weekend, before resuming in Round 4 against the ACT Brumbies at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday 21 October.
Queensland, who had the bye in Round 1, asserted control immediately on Sunday with Coombes and O’Neill both scoring tries alongside a penalty try in the first 10 minutes. The Reds led 38-7 at half-time and never looked back despite the Force’s best efforts.
Coombes coasted over in the fourth minute on the right edge after combining Tyson Walker in a two-on-one situation.
The Reds went 12-0 up with the referee awarding a penalty try and yellow card to Chase Bunce after Myles Rosemond’s kick and chase. The home side capitalised on that numerical advantage with O’Neill scoring after Finn Mackay spread play wide.
Walker’s brilliant pick-up off his bootlaces from Tamarangi Tunui’s kick led to a try down the left edge to the speedy Rosemond. The Reds added another after prop Berakah Tuifaasisina’s line break, enabling O’Neill to score his second after Walker’s short chip, with Mackay converting for a 31-0 lead.
The visitors rallied with some sustained territory prior to half-time, with Christchurch Grammar lock Harmer scoring with a counter-ruck after Reds lock Bennett Armistead had tapped down a Force line-out within 5m. But Keido Goulding scored on the back of a Reds’ rolling maul before half-time.
The Force started strong after half-time and were rewarded for their pressure with impressive Trinity College flanker Cooper scoring with a pick-and-go. Fly-half Ezekiel Jackson added the extras again from a tough angle for 38-14.
But the Reds snuffed out any threat of a Force comeback, with Connor Clifford utilising his speed and shrugging three tackles to cross, before Coombes added another down the middle after Mackay’s excellent kick.
Force's Southern Lions full-back Harry Oddy did brilliantly with an ankle tap to stop Rosemond when he seemed destined to score, but Isaac Rauluni eventually powered his way over the line for the Reds’ ninth try.
Clay Andrews added the Reds’ 10th on the hour, combining with fellow reserve Jack Brown to cross down the left edge.
Max Romer also came off the bench to good effect in the 65th minute, swooping on a miscued Oddy kick in his own 22m to round out the scoring, with Force reserve Cruz Remi unable to hang on to a late chance down the right edge.
Tries: Coombes 2 (4’, 47’), Penalty Try (8’), O’Neill 2 (10’, 24’), Rosemund (17’), Goulding (35’), Clifford (42’), Rauluni (55’), Andrews (60’), Romer (65’)
Conversions: Mackay 7/10
Tries: Harmer (31’), Cooper (37’)
Conversions: Jackson 2/2