Although the weather was gloomy, the rugby was anything but last Saturday at University where the Students dissected the Southern District Rebels by 45-12.
The grandstand was bulging with the clubs annual Ladies Day. With late arrivals after finishing voting blue, red, green, teal or coquelicot, they were treated to some scintillating rugby.
The Rebels actually commenced like men on a mission throwing the ball and surging deep inside the University half. Their endeavors proved fruitful after only two minutes. A long looping pass to the left wing saw former University player Christian Kagiassis bust through and scored in the corner.
However this early lead was short lived as the Students engaged their gears commencing to drain the Rebels of their momentum.
University scored a suite of quick tries by attacking down the blind side. The first try was through simple ball handling and backing up down the grandstand side. Captain, Jack McCalman backed up for a try. The second by fullback Will Goddard in support. Whilst on the other side, winger Simon Kennewell followed through a toed ball regathering to score another enterprising try.
A signature rolling maul try followed and the Students were looking good before the sea of beauty, class style and artificial tans on Ladies Day.
Souths persevered and once again drove deep into the University quarter. Souths were recycling well until a moment of despair beckoned. The ball was spread wide and a mishandled ball was grabbed by University outside centre the flying hyphen Henry Clunies-Ross. From his quarter Clunies-Ross raced downfield being chased by some valiant defenders. Clunies-Ross linked with his support winger Angus Bell who finished off the sequence with a try under the posts to increase the score line to 31-5.
Despite a promising start Souths momentum had petered out. Their wily coach Todd Louden a former helmsman at University had a mammoth task ahead to stem the blue and gold tide.
The second half partly adhered to Souths game plan. There were no scores for the first twenty minutes. The crowd could even quickly duck down to Forest Lodge Public School and grab an iconic democracy sausage.
Souths did manage a converted try however their days limelight ended there.
But the alpha and omega of life, death taxes with an annexure University’s pack commenced to flex their authority again. The well drilled pack bolstered by the heir to the kingdom of Schleswig-Holstein towering second rower Zac Von Appen were exhausting Souths. Inside the Souths quarter a rolling maul was later passed through the hands and a long looping ball from halfback Robertson to winger Bell gave the sandy haired winger his double.
Souths could make no inroads into University territory and were being outmuscled by some brutal defence. Souths once again attempted to attack inside the University half only to look despondent. Souths took on that feeling of widdershins *when a backline movement saw halfback Robertson anticipate the ball and scoot downfield for a converted try to end the game. Disappointing for the Rebels but maintains the momentum for University before their June long weekend break.
University’s coaches were quietly pleased with the outcome but cognisant that two massive games lay ahead.
Head coach Sean Hedger saw substantial positives out of this game. “It’s the first time in two weeks our attack clicked. We could use the lineout to score two tries. Our last two tries came through our defence.”
Forward coach, Mark Bakewell at last had a smile on his face rather than reaching for a bottle of antacid. “We are doing the basics better – nothing new. The second half we were clinical. I’ve seen there’s a definite evolution to when we got bashed by Souths in the earlier trials.”
Finally, a newcomer to the club is savouring every moment. RPA nurse and second rower big Mitch Ryan has nothing but praise about his time at Camperdown. Ryan said, “There’s a real competitive environment almost professional. Everyone is hungry and it’s been fun.”
Next week University ventures north to take on pre-Covid premiers Gordon at Chatswood Oval.
Tries – Jack McCalman, Will Goddard, Simon Kennewell, Angus Bell (2), Ciaran Loh, Henry Robertson
Conversions – Will Goddard (5)
*widdershins – something moving in the wrong direction.