ACT junior rugby is celebrating after its Under 12’s, 13’s and 14’s were all crowned NSW state champions over the weekend in Sydney.
It was a tremendous effort for the boys from Canberra considering the torrential rain that had fallen across Sydney, compared to the dry conditions the Under 14's prepared in for the qualifiers in Orange.
The 12’s battled it out first against Gordon coming away with a hard fought win 14-10. Goal kicking was the difference with the heavy ball almost impossible to lift off the turf. But despite the trying conditions, Joe Caputo managed both his attempts to hand the ACT boys a well-earned victory.
Tom Haddad and Jack Gilmore formed a devastating centre combination, tearing the Gordon defence apart with pace and footwork. Nicholas Rubendra scored the opening try for the ACT side and Byron Hollingworth-Dessent, a country boy from the Monaro-Far South Coast squad, was among the tournament’s best players scoring a length of the field try from the goal line to seal the win.
The Under 13’s was a more decisive match with the ACT boys running away with a convincing 32-5 win, this time over rugby giants Randwick. The Galloping Greens were never in the fixture, with Jordan Thompson, James Bundy, Brayden Cole and Ben Love the ACT’s best.
Thompson was eventually named the ACT’s player of the tournament and the St Edmonds star looks to have a bright future in rugby.
The final game involving an ACT side was another nail biter, with a penalty goal to scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan in the opening exchanges proving enough for the ACT to claim a come from behind win over Gordon, 8-5.
In a game where the lead changed handed three times, Bailey Simonsson was the match changer against his former representative outfit, claiming a late try to push his side into the lead.
It was a memorable win for Simonsson, who was part of the Gordon side to win the championship in 2011. His family has since moved to Canberra and the young gun looks comfortable playing in Brumbies Rugby colours.
2012 ACT Junior Brumbies State Champions
Under 12’s – Defeated Gordon 14-10
Under 13’s – Defeated Randwick 32-5
Under 14’s – Defeated Gordon 8-5