Refreshed after last week’s bye, the Students descended upon Coogee Oval last Saturday to do battle with our traditional rivals Randwick. In a display of power and discipline University defeated Randwick 40-18 to retain the Poidevin Farr-Jones Cup.
The sky was overcast but the rugby was sparkling as University flexed their muscles in only the third minute. A touch finder by fullback James Kane saw University set a five metre lineout from the Randwick line. The ball was thrown in and then the power was applied. The green Randwick jerseys were swamped by the moving mass of blue and gold hoops. If Elon Musk can develop effective battery power then he should invest in the power channeled within the University pack. It was if the call went out that there was free HECS for a year to the first try scorer such was the ferocity generated by this play. The pack were over the tryline and hooker Tom Horton rose from the turf with a converted try. This try now entitles the abrasive hooker a twelve month waiver of fees for his floristry course.
University were looking confident and were shutting down the Randwick attack with a brick wall defence. Half way through the first forty University set another five metre lineout from the Randwick line. Again University’s set piece dominance was applied resulting in try number two for Tom Horton. The Students were 14-0 ahead. Randwick had been wounded but determined to punch out of the mosh pit.
This arrived soon after when Randwick engineered some field position inside the University quarter. Phases of recycling saw them pressing the University line. A moment of loose marking off the ruck saw Randwick number eight Christian Poidevin score near the posts. 14-7 was now shown on the scoreboard and with twelve minutes left in the half there was plenty more action to come.
Discipline is a hallmark of the Students and this defined their next try. Near the end of the half an opportunity to punish Randwick was on offer. A five metre attacking scrum was walked over for halfback Daniel Calavassy to dive over for a 19-7 lead at half time.
Although there was a handy buffer University were by no means able to rest easy. Randwick are masters of punishing those that do not respect them at their fortress Coogee Oval.
Remain resolute must have echoed inside the catacombs of the grandstand changing rooms. University heeded that advice despite Randwick narrowing the scoreline with an early penalty during the second half. 19-13 and the Coogee crowd would have thought it was going to be a classic University Randwick arm wrestle to the final whistle. There was no change in the scoreline for an extended period as both sides defensive lines stood firm with solid hits. That was until University received an unexpected bonus. Students five eighth Connor O’Shea was late hit after a clearing kick. Kane compounded Randwick’s grief with a banana bending touch finder five metres from the Randwick line.
You didn’t have to be a Newtown psychic to predict what was next as the five metre lineout rolling maul was applied liberally. You could sense the crowd murmuring oh me, oh my … as the University pack was barreling towards the Randwick in goal. The ball was laid to rest and once again hooker Tom Horton scored, giving him his hat trick for the day. The conversion now had University ahead 26-13.
University had wounded Randwick and now they were focused on grinding them for the remainder of the game. The heartache for Randwick came in the latter stages of the half when University picking and driving were shredding Randwick’s desperate defence. Loose head prop Tom Osborne was positioned at the back of the ruck. The strapping prop and accomplished Sinologist hurdled through a gap for a five pointer. Young Tom could not hide his elation and got up from the ground high fiving his teammates fists pumping and yelling, “李红”from the Daoist philosopher Lie Yukou . Well said Tom!
The show was still not over. Randwick were playing for pride now and were attempting to register another try. In their endeavor’s to play expansively a pass was anticipated by University winger Harry Potter. Potter took off inside his half and like an A380 jet over the Coogee skyline glided through for University’s penultimate converted try. But you always get your $15 worth at Coogee as Randwick continued to attack after the bell to score a consolation try in the corner. Final score was 40-18 and the Poidevin Farr-Jones Cup would have another etching with University as the 2019 winners.
The team and supporters were smiling widely on the field. Returning fullback Tim Clements was on a high after his first eighty minutes in three months, “There’s no better feeling than beating Randwick at their home. I’m also pretty sore as well.” Forwards coach Joe Horn-Smith was quietly brimming that all the hard work during the week came to fruition. “ It was a great pace today and a high level of physicality. We worked hard during the week at training and it showed out there,” said the happy coach.
Next week University are back at home to complete round one against the Manly Marlins.