The age division champions of Queensland’s top regional rugby centres will play for the inaugural King of the Country crown in a three-day tournament livestreamed from the Gold Coast on the News Australia network from today.

The defending U12, U13 and U14 club rugby champions of the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Darling Downs competitions will face off against representative teams from New South Wales’ Far North Coast at Gold Coast Eagles Rugby Club in Southport from Friday April 9 to Sunday April 11.

Scouting report: 42 talents set to shine at King of the Country

DAY ONE COVERAGE:

U13: Far North Coast 29 def. Helensvale Hogs 26

NEW South Wales’ Far North Coast made a stunning defensive stand in final play to preserve a three-point margin of victory against Helensvale Hogs in the opening match of the King of the Country tournament.

Holding the slim lead as final play approached, the FNC side was dealt what could have been a terminal blow when their winger was yellow-carded for a high tackle.

With a man advantage the Hogs dived over to score in final play but lost the ball over the line, sending the New South Welshmen into raptures.

FNC’s No.8 was the pick of players for his side while winger Junior Siuanuua was especially dangerous for Helensvale, with a try and try assist in the first half demonstrating his speed and footwork.

U13: USQ Saints 31 (Tries Tom Croft (2) Harrison Humphries (2) Hinata Inoue) def. Invitational Barbarians 27 (Tries: Tawa-Dean Simpkins (3) Storm Enoka, Tayshaarn Tonga tries)

IN A thrilling back-and-forth affair between two teams pulled together from near and far, it was the visitors from the Darling Downs who prevailed in a nailbiter on Friday morning.

After a slow start categorised by dropped ball from both sides, the two teams worked into the contest to put on a show for the assembled crowd at Southport.

Tawa-Dean Simpkins was the pick of the players with his hat-trick heroics for the Barbarians, however the visitors from out west showed great poise in the dying stages to hold on for the slender four-point win.

Kudos to Saints duo Tom Croft and Harrison Humphries for their doubles.

U14: Surfers Paradise Dolphins v Far North Coast - POSTPONED

SURFERS Paradise led 7-nil in the first-half against Far North Coast when the game was called off due to injury.

A player was taken away in an ambulance after an extended break in play, and the match was postponed to 9am Saturday.

U14: Maroochydore Swans 7 def. by USQ Saints 17

MAROOCHYDORE broke the nil-all deadlock in the final minute of the first half, following an entertaining opening stanza categorised by impressive goal line defence from both sides.

USQ hit back shortly after the restart to level the scores at 7-all, before edging ahead with 12 minutes to play after an enthralling back-and-forth near the line.

With time expiring and the Saints holding a slending five-point advantage, the visitors from the west crashed over the line two minutes from time to seal the result in an instant classic.

U15: Far North Coast 20 def Sunshine Coast Grammar 19

If Day One is anything to go by the King of the Country tournament will live in people’s memories with a third-straight grandstand finish.

Sunny Coast powerhouse Sunshine Coast Grammar School led 19-0 early in the second half thanks to tries to skipper Sam Human, Charles Lanskey and Zac Nichol.

From there Far North Coast swung into action, with tries to Lachlan Conlan, Brooklyn Wareea and try of the tournament contenders from centre Khi Edwards and Soren Webster to lead 20-19 in final play.

Edwards’ aerial corner finish would have made the brightest NRL stars stand up and applaud while Soren’s bruising runaway left a field of broken tackles in his wake.

Reeling, Sunshine Coast showed toughness to march upfield and earn what should have been the gamewinning penalty, five metres out and dead in front of the posts.

For reasons theat befuddled spectators, the Grammar boys packed a scrum instead.

Far North turned over the scrum with a tighthead scrum field to snatch a remarkable victory over top quality opposition.

U15: Gold Coast Eagles 14 defeated Highfields Redbacks 10

A double to front-rower Liam Condely was enough to get the home side past the Darling Downs Under-15s champions, Highfield Redbacks, in a 14-10 victory.

Eagles flankers Max Munnery and Caleb Ahern were dominant forces at the breakdown, stripped the Redbacks of momentum as quickly as they could gain it.

Outside centre Bliss White racked up the most offloads of any player on the day with an untouchable performance in the outside backs, while centre partner Cody Schwab and No.8 Cooper Eagle also recorded strong performaces.

Lock Johnny Ryan, No.8 Max North and tryscoring flanker Jezziah Berry were Redbacks’ best.

Gold Coast Eagles will host King of the Country rugby tournament this weekend, live-streamed across the News Australia Network. Pic Mike Batterham
Gold Coast Eagles will host King of the Country rugby tournament this weekend, live-streamed across the News Australia Network. Pic Mike Batterham

The tournament begins with the U13 division, with Helensvale taking on Far North Coast at 10am, followed by Invitational Barbarians v USQ Saints.

The U14s kick off at midday, with Surfers Paradise Dolphins and Far North Coast playing first before Maroochydore Swans and USQ Saints.

The flagship U15s division will see Far North Coast and Sunshine Coast Grammar School square off before hosts Gold Coast Eagles run out against Highfields Redbacks of the Darling Downs.

Subscribers get access to watch all 24 matches, along with all coverage of the competition, while also unlocking access to the best news coverage in Australia.

REGIONAL PREVIEWS

Gold Coast: How each Coast team will attack King of the Country

Darling Downs: Darling Downs teams ready for King of the Country tournament

Sunshine Coast: Which Swans, Grammar will be crowned kings in country match

Far North Coast: FNC ready for King of the Country

TOURNAMENT DRAW

DAY ONE, FRIDAY 9 APRIL

10am - U13: Helensvale Hogs v Far North Coast

11am - U13: Invitational Barbarians v USQ Saints

12pm - U14: Surfers Paradise Dolphins v Far North Coast

1pm - U14: Maroochydore Swans v USQ Saints

2pm - U15: Far North Coast v Sunshine Coast Grammar School

3pm - U15: Gold Coast Eagles v Highfields Redbacks

DAY TWO, SATURDAY 10 APRIL

10am - U13: Helensvale Hogs v USQ Saints

11am - U13: Far North Coast v Invitational Barbarians

12pm - U14: Maroochydore Swans v Far North Coast

1pm - U14: Surfers Paradise Dolphins v USQ Saints

2pm - U15: Far North Coast v Gold Coast Eagles

3pm - U15: Sunshine Coast Grammar School v Highfields Redbacks

DAY THREE, SUNDAY 11 APRIL

10am - U13: Helensvale Hogs v USQ Saints

11am - U13: Far North Coast v Sunshine Coast Invitational Barbarians

12.20pm - U14: Maroochydore Swans v Surfers Paradise Dolphins

1.20pm - U14: Far North Coast v USQ Saints

2.20pm - U15: Far North Coast v Highfields Redbacks

3.20pm - U15: Sunshine Coast Grammar School v Gold Coast Eagles

Originally published as ALL REPLAYS: King of the Country Day One


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