It was cold, blustery and the game could be characterised as watching the polypropylene turf grow. However a 22-12 victory over Eastern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval is welcome any day.

Both teams were bolstered by some representative players after the conclusion of their Super rugby commitments. It was one of these returning players half back Jake Gordon who started where he left off scoring a double.

Despite running into the stiff wind University were monopolising the first half possession. Strong defence and rucking pinned Easts inside their twenty two metre area. A series of scrums were then packed down five metres out from the Easts goalposts. Jake Gordon took advantage of this ideal field position. The ball was channeled through the scrum and Gordon at the back ran to the open. But the run was diagonal and Easts made the fatal mistake of allowing him to run too freely resulting in an easy try being scored. Fullback James Kane converted and University were on the scoreboard leading 7-0 after twenty minutes.

Easts surprisingly did not fully exploit the wind coming off Rose Bay and were being back pedalled by the Students. Resolute defence was being applied by the bruise brothers Nick Champion de Crespigny and Lachie Swinton in the forwards. However an endless series of scrum resets would not raise an individuals body temperature above 97.7 Fahrenheit.

On the stroke of half time University were again granted an opportunity which money cannot buy. The Easts prop Archie Hall was in the sin bin for repeated scrum collapsing. Again scrum time was required. University’s feed saw the blue and gold pack shunting Easts back towards the Woollahra golf clubhouse. Gordon repeated his earlier effort with another cheeky run from the scrum to score again. Leading 14-0 at halftime and running with the wind at the break – the game was there to take in the next forty minutes.

Although the surrounds were picturesque the side lines of the ground were frustrating to clearly view the game. You would almost be inclined to grab some croissants and muffins at the La Bretagne patisserie down the road. Then knock on a nearby residents door along O’Sullivan Road if they could put a kettle on their front balcony to chew the fat while getting a decent view of the second half!  

The second half saw University commence to tighten the grip again and after ten minutes some aggressive recycling saw number eight Rohan O’Regan crash over. The unsuccessful conversion still had University ahead 19-0 but there was ample time for Easts to hit back.

Easts rebuttal to the proceedings came halfway into the second half when the ball was shifted quickly towards the clubhouse touchline. Easts winger Paterson dived over for their first points. The conversion was missed but scores now reflected 19-5 with just over fifteen minutes remaining.

Easts continued to persevere and success arrived when a midfield break saw a try later scored by their fullback Donato. The conversion only saw a converted try the difference and Easts were now travelling with noticeable momentum.

University held firm despite a fast finishing Easts. The clock was winding down and University again enjoyed a moment of luck when they were awarded a series of penalties and scrum resets after the hooter sounded. No pushover try was scored and Kane later decided that a three point penalty would end the day at 22-12. Any spectacular ball movements escaped this game but the continued dominance of the set piece was illustrated by University.

Next week University travel down South to take on the Southern Districts Rebels.