University’s last home game of the 2022 season ended with a solid 41-0 victory over the West Harbour Pirates. Under clear blue skies and thankfully dry conditions, the Students showed confidence in their play. Perhaps a bit too confident as the score line could have been even more. However, some over exuberance prevented this from occurring.
Inside the first seven minutes University were applying that immense pressure characteristic of their play. The Pirates could not attain any reasonable field position as University were grinding them away relentlessly. Two tries were scored one to Captain Jack McCalman and to centre Eddie Poolman who anticipated the ball movement and played to the whistle. 12-0 showed on the scoreboard and the University backs were throwing the ball from all parts of the field.
All players were in unison. Forwards laid the platform to provide ample ball for the backs to execute the fancy play. The big smiling number eight Papillon Sevele scored a burrowing try close to the try line as well as five eighth Ben Hughes to end the first half up 24-0. Not a particularly good start by the Pirates however at no time did they show they were lily livered *. University were just very focused on the day.
The last home game for the year was also significant as it heralded our annual Rounders and Pasifika days in recognition of the roles played by volunteers and our Polynesian players in University rugby. Volunteers and our Polynesian fraternity are the very foundations of any club today.
The second half unfortunately saw West Harbour fail to increase their score line as the University fifteen ran riot. The first try of the second half was spectacular. Commenced and finished by winger Eddy King, the ball was shifted through multiple sets of hands. Down the blindside the Pirate defense must have felt they were walking the plank as waves of blue and gold hooped jerseys were backing up. The end result saw fast Eddy King dive over in the corner. Score line was 29-0 and there was over half an hour still left in the game.
The travelling Eddy King show continued with Ben Hughes again attacking down the blindside offloading to King for another corner try. The score line had ballooned to 36-0. University were punishing the Pirates relentlessly with movements which were quite mesmerizing at times.
Confidence transcended finally with the last try of the game. Again, targeting the blindside grandstand end University were shifting the ball with speed. Backing up on this occasion was big second rower Zac von Appen. Receiving the ball von Appen with his size 20 boots was thundering down the touchline unopposed. Over the try line he performed a beautiful swan dive try to replicate his playing days at the Lili von Schtupp kinderkrippe * This try ended the day with the final score line of 41-0.
Head Coach, Sean Hedger was happy but cautious of his teams big victory, ”It was entertaining what we could do . Sometimes we were too confident, but we showed a dominant display over possession.”
After the game, club members donned their best floral shirts for Pasifika night. A Polynesian feast, kava, dancing and music was the theme to celebrate the club securing the 2022 Club Championship.
Next week we take a ferry ride to Manly where we end the 2022 competition draw with a match against Manly.
*Lily livered – an insult for someone who displays cowardice.
*Kinderkippe – A creche for very young children, usually between the ages of one to three.
Tries: McCalman, Poolman, Sevele, Hughes, King (2), von Appen
Conversions: Hughes (3)