Rangers send out warning
RUGBY : A patient and well-drilled Rangers kept their unbeaten Wagners Risdon Cup record intact at the weekend.
Facing second placed USQ Saints, Rangers were convincing in their 37-19 win.
Rangers were first on the board at Gold Park with Malachy Grealy slotting home a penalty despite the windy conditions.
The home side extended their lead through tries to Sam Baker, Brandon Murray and Fraser Hess and a Grealy conversion but the match remained in the balance despite the 20-0 scoreline.
Saints had plenty of possession but were guilty of trying to “push the pass” too early and Rangers capitalised on their mistakes.
Martin Van Staden closed the gap to 20-7, after he converted his own try, but Rangers struck back soon after.
Hess crossed the line again shortly before halftime to secure a 25-7 lead for Rangers at the break.
“It was a pretty tough game,” USQ Saints captain Ellis Jensen said.
“We had glimpses in the first half, I think we really stuck it to them in the first 10 minutes, but we couldn’t really keep it together for the first 40.
“The same thing happened in the second (half).
“We had five or ten minutes when we kept it together but then Rangers took it from there.
“I think we matched them in the forwards and their backs were the real difference in the match.”
Saints narrowed the gap to 25-12 shortly after the restart through another try to Van Staden but Rangers replied quickly once again.
Grealy converted Murray’s second try of the game to take Rangers out to a 32-12 lead.
Saints found the line again through Brendon Ralph but the day belonged to Rangers.
Daniel Cover capped off Rangers’ big win with a brilliant try in the dying minutes of the game.
Latching onto a Murray flick pass, Cover tore down the sideline before diving over the line to score in the corner.
“It was a well fought win,” Rangers captain Tom Vinson said.
“USQ made it really tough for us particularly around halftime, just before and after the break.
“They really stuck it to us, but we were fortunate to come away with the win.
“We know the job is not done yet though, we’ve still got three tough games in the season and then finals.”
Despite the lopsided scoreline Vinson believes his side still has room to improve.
“I think we took advantage of some turnover footy and expanded the play well,” he said.
“Defensively I think we were okay in patches but they definitely exploited us at times.
“They (USQ) spread the ball well and we got sucked into the middle of the field a lot which put us under pressure.”
A-GRADE MEN’S RESULTS: Rangers 37 (Tries: Sam Baker, Daniel Cover, Brandon Murray 2, Fraser Hess 2. Conversions: Malachy Grealy 2. Penalties: Malachy Grealy) df USQ 19 (Tries: Brendon Ralp, Martin Van Staden 2. Conversions, Martin Van Staden 2). Condamine 15 (Tries: Tom Sutton, Levi Power, Roger Geldard) df Roma 10 (Try: Oliver Peak. Conversion: Mack Mason. Penalty: Mack Mason).