IGS coach praises 'no frills' players for BGS victory
PRAISE be to "The Workers" in the Ipswich Grammar First XV, who were the catalysts for a narrow 29-26 victory over rivals Brisbane Grammar in the opening round of The Great Public Schools' rugby competition.
The moniker coach Steve Nance bestowed on his "no frills" players proved accurate on Saturday, with IGS noticeably always in control of the contest despite the eventual narrow margin.
Nance was quick to highlight the "absolute blinder" from star fullback Tom Casey -named best on ground- but revealed he was disappointed in "a few of the stars" who played below their own high standards.
"Tom Casey made some mistakes in the first half, but he was virtually untouchable at times," Nance said
"But mostly I was pleased with some of the guys that aren't normally the stars. The Workers I call them.
"I give a mark out of 10, with a stats sheet - old school pen and paper - with some comments (after every game).
"I won't show you obviously, but if you saw it you'd see the no frills players got most of the high scores.
IGS shot out of the gates to lead 12-0 before a "soft" try on the stroke of halftime brought BGS back into the contest.
After the restart, the two oldest schools in the GPS competition traded scoring blows - starting and ending with IGS tries - before the source of Nance's frustration reared its head.
"We scored a good try, and then really should have put them away, but we had two tries disallowed," the coach explained.
"The video showed both were tries. (The referee) conferred with his touch judge and they called no try, but you could clearly see he got the ball down and didn't go into touch.
"(The two tries) would have put us up past 40 points. Then they scored two tries in the last two minutes.
"It could have been 40-14. It probably should have been. That would have been a true reflection of the game."
Nance's frustration was tempered by the scoreline still finishing in his side's favour.
But he warned lapses similar to the one at the end of the second half would rule IGS out against stronger rivals in the coming weeks.
"At least we won. But we won't be able to play like that next week, or the following weeks, because the opposition will punish us," Nance said, referencing a tough run of four matches against the four rival sides who recorded big wins in round one.
IGS were without star forward Lance Bagon for the contest, after the Broncos refused to release him to play in the season opener.
Queensland-capped halfback Kalani Thomas was also unavailable through injury.
It forced a last-minute moving of magnets by Nance, including a call-up for Under-16 standout Conrad Wallace and the previously out of favour Chris Barraclough.
"Conrad Wallace came on and had a really good game, he did everything I asked of him," Nance said.
"We have some good young kids in the 16s, but you can't be throwing the 16-year-olds out to play the 18-year-olds (all the time.
"I said (to Barraclough), 'Mate, you're playing in the firsts so make the most of your opportunity.'
"I thought he had a great game; the best he's had all year for me, including trials."
Nance next takes his side up the Warrego Hwy to tackle Toowoomba Grammar School on Saturday.
TGS had a bye in the opening round, however they still found a means to tune up for the all-Grammar clash with a 50-14 thumping of Toowoomba rivals Downlands College.
"All the big teams had big wins - Toowoomba put 50 points on, Southport had a big win, Nudgee had a big win, BBC had a big win . . . we should have had a big win," Nance said. "Regardless, those teams will be the teams to beat. And we play all of those teams in a row."
"If we can get away with a win this weekend, it'll be the start we wanted," Nance said.
"Toowoomba are coming off that win against Downlands and will be full of confidence.
"We played them twice in trials and won both, but neither team was full strength. We'll see what happens when the crunch comes. I'm confident we'll play well."
Thomas is unlikely to feature against TGS, but Nance is hopeful of a return for the star halfback against Nudgee in round three.
The Great Public Schools' Rugby Competition, Round 1:
Ipswich Grammar School 29 def. Brisbane Grammar School 26
The Southport School 40 def. Anglican Church Grammar School 5
Nudgee College 38 def. Brisbane State High School 10
Brisbane Boys College 31 def. Gregory Terrace 20