Super Rugby


8/19/2018

GPS crowned Hospital Challenge Cup premiers for 2018


GPS have ended their 22-year Hospital Cup title drought, overcoming University of Queensland in a tightly contested Queensland Premier Rugby grand-final at Ballymore.

The Gallopers dominated field position and possession throughout the match, with stubborn defence limiting the potent UQ backline to just two tries and little attacking opportunities.

The final score finished at 23-16, Alfonso Horomia scoring the sides first try, while Jeeps were also aided by a penalty try and three James Tuttle penalty goals.

Sunshine Coast product Matt Gicquel was named the Tony Shaw medallist as man of the match for his performance, in just his first year Premier Rugby. 

GPS captain Michael Richards put his sides drought-breaking win down to attitude and defence.

“All that we spoke about out on the field was just working hard,” Richards said.

“We defended really well and everyone was putting in effort for one another. 

“I’m super proud of the boys and their willingness to work for one another. 

“Their work rate was unreal and we defended our way to victory.

“I’m so proud that after 22 years we finally get to bring the cup home to Yoku Road.”

GPS were first to score after a frantic opening ten minutes, inside centre Horomia crashing over off a scrum following sustained pressure on the Student’s line.

UQ responded with points of their own just minutes later, captain James Dalgleish slotting a penalty goal from in front of the posts to reduce the Galloper’s advantage to 7-3.

Turnovers and poor handling then inhibited both side’s hunt for points, before a second Dalgleish penalty goal broke the stalemate to send the game to 7-6 with ten minutes remaining in the first half.

Jeeps replied with a penalty goal of their own just minutes later, Tuttle converting to give his side a four-point buffer against the defending premiers.

An attempted intercept on his own line after the siren saw Scott Gale yellow-carded, with the Gallopers also receiving a seven-point penalty try as a result of the infringement.

The penalty try gave the Gallopers a 17-6 lead at half-time, as well as a one-man advantage for the first ten minutes of the second stanza.

However the 14-man UQ side proved unfazed by the loss of their fullback, the Students holding the charging GPS attack out during Gale’s ten minutes on the sideline.

It would be another ten minutes before the scores would change, Tuttle slotting his second penalty goal as GPS dominated the game with possession and field position.

The penalty provided the Gallopers with a 20-6 lead with 20 minutes to play, confidence and momentum on their side heading into the final stages.

Although the minor-premiers refused to be deterred by Jeep’s glut of possession, posting their first try through Pat Morrey in the 71st minute, the second-rower crashing over out wide to give the Heavies a sniff in the final minutes.

Dalgleish went on to miss the crucial conversion, the Students still trailing 20-11 with just minutes left on the clock.

A third Tuttle penalty gave GPS a 12-point lead before their advantage was once again cut down by the Heavies, St.George Queensland Red’s scrumhalf Tate McDermott providing a beautiful cut out pass to send winger Jock Campbell crashing over in the left-hand corner.

Dalgleish once again missed the tough conversion, the miss putting the Students just a converted try behind with two minutes to play.

However, it was GPS who found themselves with the ball come the final siren, Davis Tevita booting the ball into touch to the delight of the thousands of GPS supporters who filled Ballymore, the victory bringing an end to the two-decade long premiership drought at Yoku Road.

GPS head coach Anthony Mathison said: “You see all the people here at Ballymore today, not just the players but the supporters and people who have been around the club for a long time, it was special for them to see that and it’s something we don’t take lightly.” 

As a former GPS player, to help his side break the 22-year hodoo was particularly meaningful fo the coach. 

“I remember being here at Ballymore on the hill as a 15-year-old when GPS last won in 1996, to see people doing that again is enormous personally and for our club.”  

GPS: 23

TRIES: Horomia 1, Penalty try
CONVERSIONS: Tuttle 1
PENALTIES: Tuttle 3

UNI: 16

TRIES: Morrey, Campbell
CONVERSIONS:
PENALTIES: Dalgleish 2

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