Poidevin and Farr-Jones, names that represent two pillars of their clubs and Australian rugby are now aptly engraved on a pewter cup. From now on Sydney University and Randwick will play off annually for this cup. Last Saturday at Coogee Oval University were inaugural victors by 45-7.
Also we won the 15th consecutive Sydney club championship! More about that later.
With the University clubs lower grades finding Randwick difficult customers, first grade continued their impressive momentum towards the finals. Returning Waratah breakaway Brad Wilkin typified this in the opening try. Sweating on a loose ball , Wilkin must have thought his HECS debt was waived when he toed a loose ball, regathered and touched down without a hand being laid on him.
An effective piece of University armoury all day was their potent set piece. The first of a number of forward based tries came next with a penalty try from Randwick scrum breaches. The noticeable return of scrum anchor tight head prop Chris Talakai was significant. The likeable Master of Education student is practicing what he preaches with his forthcoming thesis entitled ‘Maintaining compliance through transferring of collective weight.’
University were looking confident. Defence was water tight with robust tackles by breakaway Nick Champion de Crespigny and one of the red haired quadruplets for first grade Will McDonnell at inside centre. The next try showed that University do not have a dictatorship over just set pieces but that element of class and culture in their ranks.
Receiving a second phase ball inside the Randwick quarter five eighth Stuart Dunbar reprised his alter ego John Travolta’s character Tony Manero’s dance moves in 1978’s Saturday Night Fever. Dunbar stepped right, then left, a little shimmey and then sped off to score under the posts with ease. 21-0 and the Students were looking good on a Sydney Saturday afternoon down by the beach at half time.
Half time at Coogee Oval is a Saturday rugby institution. We have the salty air drifting from across the road. Randwick stalwart Jeff Sayle was seated in the bleachers, and now there is a new Sydney rugby hallmark – the Coogee digital ground clock! The clock had a mind of its own! Probably designed by a Swiss clockmaker inebriated on Absinthe Suissesse cocktails, it was no precision Tag Heuer time piece. It was a brain tease attempting to comprehend the true game time!
The half time break was enough for University’s brains trust to direct the team to be relentless for the next stanza. Number eight Mitch Whiteley obliged with another pushover try to increase the scoreline to 28-0.
The kick off restart saw the Students immediately hit back with a sterling effort through the combined efforts of three backs. Dunbar with the dancing feet made a midfield break, backed by half back Strang and then passing finally to winger James Kane who barrelled over in the south east corner. In the meantime Randwick finally scored a try through some loose marking on the left wing.
But University had raised the tempo. More pressure was being applied to Randwick at every opportunity. A five metre attacking lineout saw University hooker Tom Horton roll off a lineout to score a try. 38-7 was the score but the final days points was reserved for winger Kane.
Big centre Guy Porter received a ball wound up and split the defence. Linking with Theo Strang now playing five eighth, the ball was passed to Banjo Travers at half who was stopped just near the five metre zone. But Travers gave a final pass to Kane who continued the momentum with a try in the stand corner. The corresponding conversion by Kane saw him surpass 800 points for his club career. A great effort to the young winger as the referee Mr Martin called full time for a 45-7 victory as the ground clock still showed two minutes left in the game.
As the Poidevin Farr-Jones Cup was held aloft by captain Dave McDuling after the game, coach Rob Taylor was looking forward to next week. “Really happy with the win , we brought back a trophy and kept Randwick to seven points. Looking forward to getting back home next week.” said Taylor.
Winning the 15th consecutive Sydney club rugby championship was another milestone achieved. A great testament to all the hard work from all sections of the club. A big thumbs up to you all!
Next week is the last home game of the regular season before the semi-finals series. University will be playing the Gordon Highlanders under lights.
Try’s: T. Horton (1), B. Wilkin (1), M. Whiteley (1), S. Dunbar (1), J. Kane (1)
Conversions: J. Kane (4)