Sunshine bathed Griffith University’s Nathan campus for the second day of the Universities World Cup on Wednesday, which was a welcome relief for tournament organisers after the opening day’s torrential rain.
With Tuesday’s Round 2 matches held over to Wednesday due to Brisbane’s recent poor weather, a larger crowd of 600 were on hand to witness what was an entertaining day’s rugby league.
The small but vocal crowd who braved Brisbane’s chilly conditions were treated to some enthralling football, with joint tournament favourites Australia and New Zealand unleashing some breathtaking football on a much drier track.
In the match of the day, host nation Australia raced in eleven tries on their way to recording a 58-0 thrashing of an overwhelmed Scotland.
Australia’s talented backline cut swathes through the Scottish defence, with co-captain and lock Drew Dalton finishing with a personal haul of sixteen points, while five-eighth Brogan Gibson continued his impressive form with another stand-out performance.
The Australians shot out to an early 18-0 lead before the Scots knew what had hit them, with fullback Matt Church notching up his hat-trick of tries before the half-time break.
Try as they might, the Scots just could not contain the size and skill of the Australians, with the Kangaroos racing in a further three tries for a 32-0 half-time advantage.
Australia never let up in the second half, piling on another five tries to move to the top of Pool A, with Brad Horder capping off an excellent second half, crossing for a try-scoring double.
Australia’s final pool match against Greece is scheduled for Saturday night at Langlands Park, Brisbane.
In the afternoon’s opening match, two late tries to utility Kristian Hodson saw England scrape away with a hard fought 22-20 victory over a spirited Greece outfit.
An 80-metre intercept by Greek centre York Antoniou just after half-time looked to have sealed an upset victory from the tournaments debutant nation, but committed defence and the hard running of Hodson and prop Neil Cherryholme secured England their first competition points.
France secured their first points of the tournament with a spiteful 11-2 victory over a plucky Irish outfit in the third match of the evening.
French winger Frederic Marcerou proved the difference between the two sides, booting three penalty goals and a late field goal to resign Ireland back-to-back defeats, with the judiciary sure to be kept busy with two players sent off for their involvement in a wild all-in brawl in the games closing stages.
The final match between New Zealand and Wales was a gripping affair, with the match in the balance for most of the second half before the Kiwis crossed for three late tries to come away with a 28-10 victory.
With the scores locked at 8-all at the main break, New Zealand grabbed an early ascendancy through a try to fullback Scott Hurrell, but their electric backline was kept in check by some committed Welsh defence.
But the power of the Kiwis saw them finish the stronger team, with Danny Maera, Laupepa Pasene and Rema Smith all crossing in the final ten minutes to complete a convincing six tries to two victory.
The Universities World Cup continues on Saturday at Pizzey Park, Burleigh Heads and Langlands Park, Brisbane.
Round 3 World Cup Matches
Saturday 12 July
France v Wales at Pizzey Park, Burleigh Heads, 11am
New Zealand v Ireland at Pizzey Park, Burleigh Heads, 12.45pm
Australia v Greece at Langlands Park, Brisbane, 4pm
Scotland v England at Langlands Park, Brisbane, 6pm
Universities World Cup Scores –Round 2
England 22 (Kristian Hodson 2, Michael Johnson, Anthony Jerram tries; Mark McKinley 3 goals)
Greece 20 (Michael Giorgas, David Georgiou, York Antoniou, Kosta Kouparitsis tries; York Antoniou 2 goals)
Australia 58 (Matt Church 3, Brad Horder 2, Nathan Mossman, Dean Bannerman, Eugene Seddon, Brogan Gibson, Johnathan Crawley, Drew Dalton tries; Drew Dalton 6, Brogan Gibson goals)
At Griffith University, Brisbane
Standings after round two: Australia 4, Greece 2, England 2, Scotland 0
France 11 (Cyril Capella try; Frederic Marcerou 3 goals and field goal)
Ireland 2 (Daniel Pyke goal)
New Zealand 28 (Royaldo Leoni, Paul Atkins, Scott Hurrell, Danny Maera, Laupepa Pasene, Rema Smith tries; Scott Hurrell 2 goals)
Wales 10 (Rob Worrincly, Christian Roets tries; Gareth David goal)
At Griffith University, Brisbane
Standings after round two: New Zealand 4, Wales 2, France 2, Ireland 0
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