Sydney University


Southern Districts

13 May 2023

By Bruce ‘China’ Lin


A trek down to Sylvania Waters is always fraught with uncertainty. The Southern District Rebels always seem to lift whenever they play University. Last Saturday was no exception. Despite University victorious with a 45-28 victory, Souths well and truly played with passion despite two sin binning’s in the first half.

With the aid of a noticeable breeze coming from the south, the Rebels were playing field position and thwarting University in maintaining any momentum duri8ng the first half.

A clearing kick by University failed to find touch and was regathered by their fullback Ratu. In a bewildering weave through multiple defenders the livewire fullback was able to skirt from east to west and dive in the corner for a spectacular converted try. A penalty shot after increased their lead to 10-0.

University finally secured some decent field position with a five metre line out. University commenced to roll their thunderous maul towards the Rebels goaline. Before you could count to five in *silbo gomero , University smashed over for a converted try.

But those dogged Rebels of the Sylvania marshlands never downed tools. A quick penalty and they were still ahead 13-7. Near the thirty minute mark University decided to give the ball some breadth and width. From a line out some rapid hands saw University’s leek eating Welsh fullback Jac Lloyd pierce down the eastern touchline. Lloyd drew the cover defenders and passed to his support winger Eddy King. Fast Eddy commenced his downward descent to plant the ball for a try when he was clobbered high by a Souths defender. The tackle was deemed dangerous and a penalty try was awarded. University were lucky to be ahead 14-13 but there was little to separate both teams.

On the cusp of half time Souths played out every coach’s reach for an antacid tablet. A scrum was packed five metres out from the University goal line. Souths big number eight Allen scooped the ball from the back of the scrum and stampeded towards the line. With impressive strength Allen burrowed over for a converted try in the corner. 20-14 was the halftime score. Not the ideal score but still within striking distance for the second half.

The Rebels domain – the Shire is a unique part of Sydney. Captain James Cook’s landing place at Kurnell, the setting for the 1970’s teenage tome of coming to adulthood – Puberty Blues, pristine beaches a national park, large retail centre at Westfields Miranda and Northies Hotel Cronulla where you too can make the front pages of the morning tabloids.

The second half was a therapeutic change from a dour first half. University were able to pin Souths inside their half. You could see the Students raising the pace of the game. The backline was really throwing the ball over hill and dale. Young winger Tom Morrison collected a looping bobbing ball from a Connor O’Shea break and dived over in the eastern corner. That was the impetus needed by University to now lead 21—20.

The return from injury of that great helmsman of Sydney rugby Henry Clunies-Ross then arrived. Receiving a ball inside the Souths quarter from a standing start, with stupendous footwork and speed, Clunies-Ross like *lysin bamboozled a cluster of defenders to score.

Replacement centre Simon Kennewell scored soon after some ad lib ingenuity by winger Tom Morrison down the clubhouse side. University were now ahead 35-20. Souths opted for a penalty and 35-23 stood three quarters through the half. University were on a mission to not rest. They had already achieved their much valued bonus point but the Students continued the onslaught. Big number eight Hugh ‘bok choy’ Bokenham got involved with a try from a five metre rolling maul. 42-23 was now the score and University were in overdrive. Souths did score a late consolation try but a 45-28 victory is always welcome at Forshaw park.

Head coach Damien Hill was not getting ahead of himself with the big victory. “ The first half was not entirely up to our standard.  The second half on the other hand showed an increase in intensity and an accurate set piece. Players such as Sam Cantwell, Tom Morrison and Jack McCalman all played well. Plenty of good things to our second half but there’s still a long way to go.”

Next week University returns to Camperdown in a rematch with last years other grand finalists Gordon.


*Silbo Gomero: spoken in La Gomera on the Spanish coast.

*Lysin- A substance that is able to cause disintegration of living cells or bacteria.