26 August 2023
By Bruce ‘China’ Lin
University culminated the 2023 season by bringing back the Colin Caird Shield to Camperdown. A dominant first half display saw the Students defeat the Manly Marlins 38-24.
The game was barely ninety seconds and before one could say Dear leader Kim Jong-Un University struck. A Manly turnover inside their half was pounced upon by the number eight Max von Appen. Like a BMW X5 rolling off the Munich assembly line von Appen rumbled through the Marlins defence. Outside centre Hamish Mac Smith received the ball and glided down the blindside and passed to his wingman Sepesa Loga-Tarogi. Showing his aplomb as a former member of the Fijian National ballet. Loga-Tarogi tip toed down the touchline. To add an additional dimension to his repertoire Pesa applied a Suva sidestep over the defending Manly fullback to score adjacent to the posts. The try was converted by University fullback that slippery sea sparrow Sammy Bignold.
Manly had been stung but not outdone and five minutes later they made amends. Some sustained pressure saw them touch down in the corner for a converted try. 7-7 and the game was back in contest mode.
However it was Manly’s mistakes which was their achilles heel. Inside their half further tries were scored by the Students. University had that *quixotic zeal in their play. After second rower Angus Allen scored a try through fast rucking and recycling University were ahead 21-7.
The prefect ending to the first half came after the Mac Smith / Loga-Tarogi show was reintroduced. Targeting the blind again University five eighth Connor O’Shea showed the benefits of home schooling in method acting from his drama teacher father Pat. Reprising Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, O’Shea showed incredible poise and balance down the blind. O’Shea passed to Loga-Tarogi who in turn gave the ball to Mac Smith. For such a tall man Mac Smith possessed balance to dart down the touchline to score another try converted by Samuel Bignold. The perfect end to the first half leading 28-7 but never underestimate a Marlin that had been filleted.
University did commence the second forty minutes in fine form with another early try to increase the scoreline to 33-7. But then Manly had almost and epithany to realise tries needed to be scored and quickly. Manly rolled off three quick succession tries through some enterprising play to trail 33-24 and it was once again an interesting contest.
However the game was put beyond doubt with two minutes left after a try from a scrum allowing replacement wing Charlie Murray to score in the corner. 38-24 and the Students led by Captain breakaway Jacob Ratcliff had secured their holy grail.
A fine effort to all and sundry particularly to the coaches Ryan Burge and Ben Rutherford in their maiden season. To all the support staff a job well done. Rest up for the off season as it restarts again in November.
- Quixotic – Chivalrous and unselfish to an extravagant extent.