Queensland go top


QUEENSLAND moved to the top of the Super 12 championship yesterday with a 36-26 win over South Africa's Western Province in Sydney after holding off a final storm from the visiting side.

Province, who have yet to win a Super 12 match and were 25-6 down at half time, surged back with two tries to trail by 10 points with 10 minutes to go. Desperate defence absorbed countless attacks by the South Africans.

Queensland, who beat Natal and Transvaal in the finals of the Super 10 format over the last two seasons, were whipped into action by halfback Brett Johnstone.

Johnstone was instrumental in the four try victory which earned them a bonus point and put them ahead of Auckland in the table. Northern Transvaal moved into third position with a 34-18 win over Canterbury. In the day's other match Waikato beat Australian Capital Territory 26-18.

The Queensland backs were superb in the first 60 minutes, piling on three tries in the first half as they cruised into the lead against the bottom team. Queensland fullback and skipper Tim Horan left the field with an elbow injury, believed to be ligament damage, after scoring a try. The other tries came from Jason Little, Daniel Herbert and Mark Connors.

Wallaby second rower John Eales finished with 16 points from two conversions and four penalty goals. Western Province's tries came from Joggie Viljoen, Garry Pagel and Johan Kapp.

Northern Transvaal scored five tries, two from Adriaan Richter, to Canterbury's two and were far superior than the 34-18 margin suggested. Two of Northern Transvaal's tries were scored in the first 12 minutes.