The shackles of examinations and the end of the financial year were over. University came focused to play some entertaining rugby last Friday night at the SUFG. Sydney University played Eastern Suburbs before a jam packed colourful TAG grandstand for a 36-29 victory.
Only ten minutes had elapsed when Captain number eight Rohan O’Regan scored first for the Students. In the lead up a long touch finder by winger James Kane allowed University to press the Easts line. Eventually the constant surge of University bodies pounding the Easts line saw O’Regan smash his way over near the posts for a converted try.
A momentary hiccup followed when second rower Lachie Swinton saw his not so favourite colour yellow lifted out of the referees pocket for a lifting tackle. With a man down Easts took a penalty. Easts then exploited the advantage and were playing at a rapid pace. They succeeded when a splintered loosely marked Students ruck delivered Easts an easy try. A lead of 10-7 to Easts but it was only temporary.
The power throughout the year of University’s set piece was showcased next for all to see when University were awarded a five metre attacking scrum. An almighty shunt saw the University pack steamroll Easts causing the referee to award a penalty try. 14-10 was the lead for a nice ending to the first half.
There was a great vibe in the grandstand. Pitt Street and Martin Place corporates mixed with schoolboy representatives while Sydney University Sport staff all came down. There was a line up outside the grandstand kitchens to savour Luke Mitchell’s comfort food especially his aunt Effie’s legendary tourkakia.*A cross section of Sydney were in attendance to have a respite to end the working week.
But Easts spoiled the carnival atmosphere by scoring first in the second half with a neat cross kick into the score board corner for a five pointer.
Stung again by this, University proceeded to reverse proceedings with their next phase which was once again the awesome set piece.
Easts had the loosehead feed five metres out from their line but this did not deter the Students. Following the Easts feed you could see the physicists in the University pack apply Sir Issac Newton’s three principles of motion. The Students pack proceeded to run over the Easts eight winning the tighthead and driving over the line for a tremendous try.
This was the stimulant required by University and soon after some high speed phase play saw the ball swing out to winger Henry Clunies-Ross whose speed touched down in the corner. There was no stopping University’s momentum and shortly after winger James Kane asserted his presence. Easts managed to attack inside the University twenty two metre zone. As the Easts halfback passed towards the blindside, Kane anticipated the pass. Moving from neutral into overdrive, Kane caused the crowd to roar in unison run James run. Even the expatriate Mongolian contingent watching the game in the grandstand stood up to belt out ypcran as the ginger one raced downfield to score his converted try. 31-15 was now the score line and a valuable bonus point had been secured.
Easts like an irritating school brat continued to hit back at University with another try but University’s set piece laid the foundation for the final try. A driving scrum in the Easts line was funnelled off to five eighth Stu Dunbar who chip kicked into the corner for once again Kane to score.
Easts scored their final try owing to a momentary lapse in University’s midfield defence. University ended the night with a much needed 36-29 victory under the stars at Camperdown.
Next Week University head out to the iconic Lidcombe Oval to play Parramatta. A ground steeped in Rugby League history where ferocious encounters played out and Tommy Raudonikis’ dentures laid out on the ground.
*Greek grilled offal
Try’s: R. O’Regan (1), T. Strang (1), J. Kane (2), H. Clunies-Ross (1)
Conversions: J. Kane (2)