Sydney University vs Southern Districts
By Bruce’China’ Lin

The SUFG witnessed an incredible comeback and exhibition of attacking rugby last Saturday. A combined 90 points were scored when University came from an early deficit to defeat Southern Districts 54-36.

Souths threw everything at University during the first ten minutes, spreading the ball wide, recycling possession and swamping University. University supporters were shell shocked after the Rebels  three rapid tries for a lead of 19-0. If the Rebels continued this punishment some patrons might have thought a detour at halftime to nearby King Street Newtown to purchase some scented candles might occupy their Saturday afternoon. But fortunately the hallmarks of steadfastness in the face of adversity saw University fight back.

A ball from a scrum deep inside Souths territory saw University’s centre Tom Carter take the ball up hard towards the try line. The ball was popped up to a shadowing breakaway Rohan O’Regan. O’Regan powered towards the line and the big leprechaun crashed over for a converted try.

With plenty of time left in the game University were now focused on maintaining their discipline. The game continued until four minutes before the break when a set of young guns showed that the future of the Club was in good shape. The ball was sent wide and debutant fullback Tim Clements made the extra man into the backline. Clements drew defenders and was split in two by a defender before passing to winger Matthew Hood. Hood applied an incredible burst of speed down the northern touchline to beat the Souths fullback Asquith to score another try converted by winger Christian Kagiassis. 14-19 was the halftime score. The second half was shaping as forty minutes of the best Saturday afternoon entertainment.

So far this season University have been slow after the break however this failed to take a foothold   this week. University were bustling the Rebels inside their 22 metre area led by hooker Folau Fainga’a and captain number eight Jake Wainwright who were tackling with venom. Souths turned over the ball, which Fainga’a pinched and shifted it wide to winger Kagiassis who easily ran downfield unmarked to score his converted try. So far Kagiassis had scored a try, three goals and was on fire! The Students were now ahead 21-19. But just when you thought Souths were on the ropes they scored again through their five eighth Rohan Saifoloi after some good backing up in the Parramatta Road corner to just lead 24-21.

University then decided to unleash their version of the Fast and the Furious. A series of power plays more audacious than Donald Trump’s hand grab at the G7 Summit was produced in a short space of time!

University were attacking with a bewildering  combination of passing, chip kicks, box kicks, angled running and speed. University increased their lead to 40-24. Young halfback Theo Strang’s box kick and regather to score down the grandstand particularly had the crowd in standing applause.

Souths to their credit did not walk off the building site as they continued to attack. Two converted tries were scored. With the clock winding down and a score of 47-36 time would be against them. Souths were maintaining possession and were recycling through an avalanche of possession. University defence was holding firm. The ball was taken down the blindside but was dispossessed from Souths. Replacement five eighth Ben Hughes flick passed to Chris Ingate who powered down the touchline only to offload to his ever present winger the fast finishing Matthew Hood who scored under the posts.

The final points were fittingly reserved to the man of the match the Prince of Earlwood, Kagiassis. The ball was placed on the kicking tee just to the right of the uprights. Measured steps back were taken and then quite discretely a spray of Windex was applied to his boot causing the ball to sail sweetly between the posts. 54-36 was the final score ending an incredible game of rugby.

There were smiles and milestones throughout the University throng after the game. Tom Carter had just become the second most capped player behind club living treasure Rupert Rosenblum. Debutant fullback Tim Clements was exhausted bruised but sporting a big smile. “It was nuts absolutely nuts trying to keep up,” said Clements.

Man of the match Christian Kagiassis the recipient of a new set of Bang & Olufsen headphones to listen to his favourite Justin Bieber tracks had the final say about the comeback. “We just had to believe in ourselves and the systems we have. We came back hard!”

Next week at T.G Millner Field University are facing off against arch nemesis Eastwood.