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Duffy helps Eagles soar in thriller against Whites

Date

Chris Dutton

Queanbeyan lock Matthew Hirst gives opposite number Darragh O'Byrne some rough treatment.

Queanbeyan lock Matthew Hirst gives opposite number Darragh O'Byrne some rough treatment. Photo: Stuart Walmsley

THEY didn't have a coach and were starved of possession, but Xavier Duffy emerged as the Gungahlin Eagles' last-minute saviour at Nicholls Oval yesterday.

The Eagles held on for a 31-26 triumph over the Queanbeyan Whites to give themselves a boost in the John I Dent Cup ladder battle.

And it was Duffy who produced a superb breakdown steal in the dying seconds to ensure the Eagles secured a victory.

Despite missing coach Owen Finegan - who was away in his role as the chief executive of Snowy Hydro Southcare - the Eagles held on for a five-point win.

The Eagles streaked clear at the start of the second half, but the Whites launched a late fightback to try to steal the match.

They scored with five minutes remaining and then held the ball for the rest of the match searching for a game-winning try.

But Duffy stepped up at the breakdown to force a turnover just 10 metres out from his own line and win a penalty to escape with a win.

Eagles captain Ben McGee praised the former St Joseph's College flanker for his superb performance.

''I didn't even know [Finegan] wasn't going to be here until Thursday night, so it was good to get that one,'' McGee said.

''[Duffy's] an unbelievable player, especially in the dying minutes of the game, he's often pulled us out of hard spots.

''He's consistently only of our better players … he played about a season in colts and then has been one of our best players in the past few years.''

The breakdown was the biggest frustration for the Whites in the tight match.

Coach Wayne Southwell was constantly left scratching his head as the Eagles successfully slowed down the Whites' attacking ball.

But his young side was determined not to let the Eagles run away with the match and fought for victory until the last seconds.

Before the match, the Whites were just five points behind the Eagles on the ladder.

But Queanbeyan now faces a tough task to force its way back into finals contention after the top four sides stretched the gap over the rest of the competition.

The Whites have four players in their back line who are still eligible to be in the club's colts side.

While Southwell was frustrated with the defeat, he said the performance sent a statement to the rest of the competition.

''I'm disappointed with that … the breakdown was tough, we needed some quick ball and I'm a little bit confused with the way some things went,'' Southwell said.

''I thought our guys showed a lot of courage, we're in this well and truly.

''No one is going to write us off after a game like that.''

Brumbies winger Cam Crawford scored a double for the Eagles, while flanker Rutikha Ilolahia also crossed twice.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR vs AUS 01:30Twic
USA vs NZL 07:00Soldier Field
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs SAM 01:00Stadio Del Duca
ENG vs NZL 01:30Twic
WAL vs AUS 01:30MilS
FRA vs FJI 03:45Stade Velodrome
IRE vs RSA 04:30Lansdowne Road
SCO vs ARG 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs ARG 01:00Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris
ENG vs RSA 01:30Twic
WAL vs FJI 01:30MilS
SCO vs NZL 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
FRA vs AUS 07:00StdF
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE vs GEO 01:30Lansdowne Road
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
IRE vs AUS 03:30Lansdowne Road
WAL vs NZL 04:30MilS
ENG vs SAM 06:00Twic
FRA vs ARG 07:00StdF
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
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