ARC Rugby championship

Aces stun Vikings in thriller



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The East Coast Aces came up with the biggest shock of the Australian Rugby Championship to date when they beat the Canberra Vikings 35-34 on Sunday.

The first half did not go to plan for the Aces, who found themselves 28-5 down at the break having conceded four tries. In the second half they were a different team and won the game with a last gasp penalty from Andrew Walker.

It took the Vikings less than a minute to open the scoring when the competition’s leading points scorer Matt Carraro went over for the games first try. Carraro went on to kick six-from-seven to ensure he stays as the leading scorer, with 56 after this game.

The Aces refused to give up in a game they truly believed they could win, and with eight minutes left it was debutante Brett Stapleton who showed great pace down the right wing to leave the Aces within striking range.

Christian Lealiifano was the catalyst for the Viking’s impressive first half display, controlling play with a maturity that defied his young age. It was a fine run from fellow rising star Anthony Faingaa that set the platform for their opening minute try.

Faingaa was again heavily involved in the second try as this time Francis Fainifo went over to double the early lead.

The Aces hit back with a try of their own, Rodney Blake causing havoc in the defence before Nic Berry and finally Ben Mowan finished a fine move. However it was the Vikings who controlled the rest of the half, adding further scores through Peter Kimlin and Faingaa.

Trailing by 23 points the Aces began their comeback, first through a Marshall Milroy try and the two Walker penalties to cut the cap to just ten. Soon after the break Blake again caused problems with a powerful run before replacement scrum half Sam Batty sneaked over.

With the gap down to three Walker missed a simply penalty to level things up, and then had to watch as Carraro added his sixth effort of the afternoon to seemingly put the game safe.

But then came the dramatic ending, first of all Stapleton scored a fine individual try, which was converted by Walker. Then with time up Walker slotted a match-winning penalty to hand the Aces a stunning, and much deserved, win.

The Scorers:

For Vikings:

Tries: Carraro, Fainifo, Kimlin, Faingaa
Cons: Carraro 4
Pens: Carraro 2

For Aces:

Tries: Stapleton, Mowan, Milroy, Batty
Cons: Walker 3
Pens: Walker 3

The Teams:

Canberra Vikings: 15 Tim Wright, 14 Eddie McLaughlin, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nick Haydon, 8 Jone Tawake, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jack Vanderglas, 5 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 4 Alister Campbell (captain), 3 Nic Henderson, 2 Anthony Hegarty, 1 John Ulugia.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Raymond, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Pauliasi Taumoepeau, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Rowan Kellam, 22 Ben Johnston.

East Coast Aces: 15 Andrew Walker, 14 Marshall Milroy, 13 Henari Veratau, 12 Waitai Walker, 11 Brett Stapleton, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Nic Berry (captain), 8 Josh Afu, 7 AJ Gilbert, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 Luke Caughley, 4 Will Munsie, 3 Rodney Blake, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Tama Tuirirangi.
Replacements: 16 Jade Ingham, 17 Lloyd Campbell-McBride, 18 James Kriukelis, 19 Bo Paraha, 20 Sam Batty, 21 Quade Cooper, 22 John Dart.
365 Digital

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