King’s College at the University of Queensland have fallen agonisingly short of the tournament’s biggest upset to date, instead dropping out of the Cup competition with a 12-7 quarter-final loss to the heavily favoured Samurai.
In a similar performance to yesterday’s loss to Penguins Rugby, King’s defended like men-possessed against a team littered with representative stars.
The match was a battle of contrasting styles as Samurai’s pace and x-factor faced off against the courageous defence of the Kingsmen in a nail-biter.
King’s shot to an early lead before conceding twice, but were denied a comeback multiple times in a frenetic closing period.
Samurai received the ball to open the match but were met by a brick wall in defence, forcing them to kick away possession.
Fullback Jock Campbell launched King’s first jab, lock Tom Vaessen the second as both recorded long runs.
Winger Kim Henderson landed a shuddering right hook with a 40 metre linebreak, the damage compounded with another stinging run from Harry McNulty.
Samurai were left reeling in the face of King’s surging momentum but could only watch as Jock Campbell skipped inside a defender to score the opener, three minutes in.
An overthrown lineout inside King’s territory gifted Samurai great field position and King’s were quick to flood the breakdown, exposing the right flank.
Samurai were too fast to stop out wide from the opportunity, but couldn’t equalise from a tough conversion opportunity with three minutes remaining in the half.
King’s defence continued to frustrate the Samurai, reaching a boiling point when Jock Campbell chased down a certain breakaway to notch the try-saver of the tournament.
The weight of possession and territory took it’s toll on the King’s defence as Samurai capitalised on a poor missed tackle to seize a 12-7 lead.
For the next six minutes King’s launched raid after raid upon the Samurai line but couldn’t find a way through as time expired.
Samurai defended desperately to hold the lead, clearing their line at every opportunity before setting up camp and defending.
King’s final roll of the dice, in last play, came up unsuccessful, allowing Samurai to breathe a sigh of relief to have escaped with the win.