Sydney University’s 2015 campaign commenced last Saturday at Nepean Rugby Park when Sydney University defeated the Penrith Emus 62-5.
Led by University’s veteran centre Tom Carter, the young Students fifteen piled on a 10 try demolition in the cool conditions. Unfortunately Carter succumbed to a hamstring twinge and the club veteran was replaced by James McMahon.
The game was 3 minutes old when bustling outside centre big Jim Stewart sliced through the Penrith defence and palmed off some would be defenders for a try. It was plain to see that University were focused to attack from all corners of the ground.
Forwards were amongst backs to get their hands on the ball. When tight head prop Ally Ryan ripped through the Emu defence it was indubitable that University would be playing an attractive brand of rugby during 2015.
Fullback Henry Clunies-Ross and winger Mark O’Dare, are blessed with explosive pace. Although a man of few words, this is compensated by the O’Dare travelling cheer squad of mother Sherry, and sisters Sam & Rebecca who supported Mark in his Shute shield debut.
At halftime University had a good lead of 29-0 and coach Nobby Malone no doubt stressed to the team to not release their foot from the accelerator for the second half.
Penrith’s distance does not dissuade University’s die hard supporters to travel. Mingling in the stand were the Cannon’s, Michael Hodge’s parents from Canberra and his aunt Margot. Breakaway David Hickey’s mother Di formerly of Coonabarabran and now Newcastle was eagerly awaiting the draw for the meat raffle to feed David.
Two quick University tries started the second half until a dropped ball was scavenged by a rather pacy Penrith winger who scored his teams only points for the day. The Penrith try ushered a brief period where University dropped intensity and some mistimed passes to effect something the University coaching trust will no doubt refine as the season progresses.
The lull was broken when a powerful push over try was executed by the Students. The game culminated in David Hickey tip toeing through a tired Penrith defence for the full time score of 62-5.
A fast paced game with plenty of room for improvement when facing the stronger teams in the competition.
Next Saturday a new experiment will occur where a full competition fixture involving all club teams will be held in the quaint environs of Bowral against Eastern Suburbs. If the pleasant weather continues the southern highlands will be a sea of colour and houndstooth jackets along the sidelines of the BowraL Rugby Club