In one of the most see sawing games at Camperdown, Southern Districts defeated Sydney University 32-31 literally at the death last Saturday.
Like the Dow Jones index, the scores fluctuated. One moment the Rebels were ahead only for University to storm back and vice versa. At the end Souths exploited some extra time to defeat University.
The opening twenty minutes was all University camping play inside the Rebels quarter. But strong Souths defence repelled the blue and gold raids. The dam wall finally breached when five eighth Connor O’Shea passed to wing James Kane who made an extra man through a gap. Kane splintered the defence drawing defenders and finally passing to fullback Tim Clements who touched down for a converted try.
Souths quickly hit back when attacking inside the five meter zone they punched through a loosely marked ruck to bash over under the posts. Scores were now even in a tight first half.
University on the cusp of half time were bustling the Rebels and pounced on a loose ball. A flurry of rapid passes saw outside center Henry Clunies-Ross score. University were ahead 14-7 and the time piece showed forty minutes had elapsed. But the referee must have been using a Tag Heuer knock off watch from a Denpasar flea market as play continued for a few more minutes. The Rebels thereafter were able to score a converted try to claim parity of 14-14 at half time.
There is nothing better than watching a game of rugby in the late winter sun on a Saturday afternoon. If Covid-19 put us in a lockdown situation what could we do to kill the endless hours? Listen to the rantings of world leaders and celebrities adept at spin, misogynistic thoughts, totalitarianism or watch reruns of Hogan’s Heroes? Rugby rules without doubt!
The second half saw Souths raise their intensity from the outset with an early try. Former University player Christian Kagiassis now with the Rebels kicked a penalty to increase the lead to 22-14 and University were under pressure. But University’s signature rolling maul saw them peg back the deficit with a converted try to trail 22-21. This was the impetus needed by the Students as University shifted the ball wide to James Kane’s wing. Kane then reprised his role of Forrest Gump at the Giant Dwarf Theatre Cleveland Street Redfern by racing to the corner and dive over. Another University try soon after was a clever blind side rush drawing defenders and passing. Tim Clements threw the final pass for Henry Clunies-Ross to score his second try. Scoreline was 31-22 and there was barely five minutes left in the game.
But Souths must have signed up for an Anthony Robbins positive thought workshop on Zoom. A rolling maul try saw them now trail 31-27. From the kickoff they were able to grasp three consecutive penalties despite the full-time bell sounding. Successive touch finders saw them have a final roll of the dice with a five-meter lineout. The ball was brought down and the rest was history.
University were left bewildered that a victory was lost. It just goes to show rugby is an eighty-minute game.
Next week the club ventures to the T.G. Millner Field to do battle with traditional rivals Eastwood.