Sydney University vs Eastern Suburbs
By Bruce’China’ Lin

Unwind at a watering hole after a hectic week? Catch a movie at a cinema or absorb the exhilarating sounds of Carmen along the harbour? The other option for a Friday night was seeing University versus Eastern Suburbs under lights at Camperdown.  There was no fake news or alternative facts in University’s hard fought 25-16 victory.   

University’s performance during the first 25 minutes was anything but their normal disciplined play. A plethora of dropped passes and unnecessary skirmishes thwarted any attacking rugby.  It was enough for coach Tim Davidson to call up the nearby Lyric Theatre at Pyrmont for a Shen Yun artist to address the team at half time to extol the virtues of discipline, breathing and harmony. Easts on the other hand took advantage of any points on offer accruing two penalties . University could only score a single penalty by utility player winger Christian Kagiassis.  

When second rower Baron Nick Champion De Crespigny of Yarralumla was sin binned for ruck infringements, the crowd might have thought the floodgates would open. But this was far from the case as the University set piece matched Easts despite their numerical advantage.

Like ships in the night Champion De Crespigny returned from his sideline sentence while the Easts hooker went  to the sidelines for a high tackle on University breakaway Hamish Dunbar. This was the opportunity for University to apply their dynamic scrum inside the opposition half. An enormous rolling maul towards the Easts 22 metre area was executed by the Students. This was followed by a series of 5 metre scrums which was repeatedly collapsed by Easts. Finally another collapse caused referee Mr Ed Martin to issue a penalty try.  Scoreline was 10-6 to the Students with about 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Easts kicked another penalty to inch back 10-9 but this was short lived. Every coaches nightmare  arrived before the half time break . Another 5 metre University scrum saw half back Daniel Calavassy dart to the right and score. Kagiassis’s conversion saw a halftime score of 15-9 favouring the Students. 

Whatever was said at half time by the University brains trust must have been to score points early.  Kagiassis kicked an early penalty after the break to increase the score to 18-9.  The next University try was unusual to say the least.  The ball was shifted to the open along the backline. The catch and passes created an overlap and young fullback James Kane made the extra man and scythed through the Easts backs. Kane was a runaway train heading towards the tryline when he lost his grip with an imminent 5 points on offer.   Easts players let Kane know what they thought but the Aesop idiom ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ was rammed home soon after.  

Easts had the scrum feed but the aforementioned superior University scrum was again applied. A tighthead win was secured and then the University pack commenced to drive their way towards the Easts try line. You could hear Chuck Berry’s 1964 hit No Particular Place to Go coming from the University pack as they steamrolled over the Easts forwards for another 7 points.

Easts remained try less until the last minute when some sustained rucking near the University line finally saw them score a converted try for the 25-16 fulltime score.

Coach Tim Davidson was satisfied with the win particularly after commencing the game in a less than dynamic fashion.  “When things are not going to plan the character of the side is to dig out of it.”  said Davidson.

For a new club man tight head anchor Wayne Borsak  his face bloodied after  the battle was absorbing his first competition  game for the Students. “I am estatic playing here, lost for words” , said the happy prop.  

Next week another hard game awaits University as they face the bruising Manly Marlins.