New England Rugby Union: Robb College through to grand final after beating the Blues

Robb College’s never-say-die attitude has earned them the first spot in the New England Rugby Union grand final after accounting for the Armidale Blues in the major semi-final.

Backs against the wall with a long period of defence late in the first-half, the students fired and held on to claim the win.

Robb were the first to score in the opening minutes of the match through George Jackson before the Blues hit back with a penalty goal.

Josh Jones added more points for the college side to extend their lead to 14-3.

The Blues parked themselves on Robb’s line for the remainder of the opening half and forward Mick Ogilvie crashed over.

Ian Ranger followed suit just before the break to give their side a 17-14 edge.

 Ranger added another four minutes into the second-half.

Robb reduced the deficit to 24-17 via a Drew Walsh-penalty goal.

The students found their groove and Jones made his way over the line for his second.

A Tom Bucknell-offload found the hands of half Charlie Steele-Park who raced away for a converted try and Robb were back in front 29-24.

With five minutes to go, Robb spread the ball off a scrum and centre Liam Salmon scored next to the posts.

The try was converted and the students held out the Blues in the remaining minutes to claim the victory.

The Robb side are daring to dream with a vast majority of their squad part of last year’s grand final heartache against St Albert’s.

 Skipper Andy Leatham described taking out the major semi-final as “unbelievable” but said there is still work to be done before they take out the trophy.

“Last year we got pumped in the major semi and then we had to play the next week.

“So just to be able to have that week off, work on what we need to work on will be really good for the boys.”

Leatham and the squad’s senior players are aiming for grand final glory before they finish their university careers.

“It would be unbelievable, especially for some of the boys who were here last year.

‘To come so close but yet not quite get there, this year is some of their last years so for them it would be unbelievable and for the freshers coming through it would be a great way to start their careers off at Robb.”

Leatham applauded his team’s grit and tenacity in defence against the Blues, particularly late in the first-half.

“Our defence had been lacking in the last couple of weeks so we just picked it up again.

“‘Green wall’ is our call so we just kept doing that, up and hit them and then just tackle them around the legs.

“To let in one try was not too bad an effort but the main goal is to not let in any so we will try and work on that for next time.”

Armidale will play the Barbarians for the final spot in the decider after the Baa Baas downed St Albert's College 38-36 in Sunday's minor semi-final.