Rangers earn second shot at Ballymore final glory
RUGBY: Another Ipswich Rangers team will soak up the Ballymore experience in the club's 50th anniversary season.
A week after the proud Ipswich club's Pegg Cup side secured a grand final spot, Rangers Wyatt Cup boys achieved the same feat.
They beat Brisbane Irish 17-12 on Friday night to earn a shot at minor premiers Med XV in this weekend's premiership decider.
Rangers captain Stewart Banks was thrilled to be playing at Ballymore again after "retiring'' a few years ago.
He said a number of his teammates would also enjoy the rare opportunity for the first time, or after a number of years away from the grand final spotlight.
"I didn't think I'd be back playing at Ballymore, ever,'' Banks said.
However, the opportunity came after Rangers' hard-fought preliminary final win.
"It was a very tough game, very tight,'' Banks said. "It was try for try for most of the game.''
Left centre Banks praised his team's defensive effort after he crossed in the corner to put his team ahead late in the game.
"I had no energy to kick the last one,'' Banks said.
"It was a very intense last five minutes.''
Rangers head into the grand final with two key players in grave doubt.
Try scoring flyhalf Stephen Andrews has a suspected broken jaw and prop Matthew McLean dislocated his shoulder.
Zan Bradford played for Rangers after being on hospital watch with his wife in the labour ward.
Rangers' Pegg Cup side will play Caboolture in their grand final at Ballymore on Saturday.
Wyatt Cup preliminary final: Ipswich Rangers 17 (Stephen Andrews, Stewart Banks, Jarryd Verrenkamp tries; Stewart Banks 1 conversion) def Brisbane Irish 12 at Hugh Courtney Oval.
Grand final: Friday (6.45pm) v Med XV at Ballymore.