Despite a heavy pitch after the recent rain, University notched six tries to defeat the Western Sydney Two Blues 38-7 last Saturday at the SUFG.
University were controlling play during the early stages eventually securing field position inside the Two Blues twenty-two metre zone. An attacking scrum saw the ball channeled through fast hands to the open. The ball was received by winger James Kane who reprised his NIDA audition of Forrest Gump. Run James run… came the cry from the team as Kane clapped on the pace leaving defenders floundering in his wake as he scored a stellar try which he also converted.
University were capitalizing on any Two Blues mistakes and the next points saw a turnover quickly converted to points. Western Sydney’s attack bobbled up the ball and once again the ball was thrown along the back line. On this occasion outside centre James Armstrong accelerated and scored beneath the posts for a converted try to increase the University lead to 14-0.
The young University pack guided by second rower Dave McDuling were starting to backpedal the Two Blues who were finding it extremely difficult to get out of their quarter. University were rolling through their phases with controlled rucking. Half-back Banjo Travers saw a loose ruck form on the try line and took advantage of the opportunity. Travers feigned to go open but darted off the ruck to plant the ball for another five points to increase the score line to 19-0.
The Two Blues just could not acquire any decent field position and were once again facing a relentless University attack. A set move was later executed by University from a scrum. Again, the ball was thrown to the open. Running at pace and at an angle was Captain and inside centre Guy Porter. Porter’s timing was clockwork as he split the defence with a powerful run to score beneath the posts. 26-0 was the halftime score going into the halftime break.
The Two Blues in the second half started to show promise despite an early lucky Kane intercept try. Phases were being built by the tough guys from Western Sydney only to see a last-minute loose pass stall their attack. The majority of the half was kept to 33-0 until the thirty fourth minute. The Two Blues were inside the University five metre zone and this time they decided to spread the ball wide. In the process a crash ball play was executed which took University by surprise resulting in their first converted try. Six minutes remained in the game and there was one mission left for the Students – Kane to reach his 1,000 points!
Possession was shared by both teams during these latter stages. Then a moment to seize the day beckoned. A loose bouncing ball was occurring inside the University half. One of the debutants today replacement hooker, Tokai University’s Yutaro Fugiyama said a quick Arigatōgozaimashita
by paddling the bouncing ball on while his back was turned to his support inside centre Will McDonnell. McDonnell showing all the warm generosity of his country upbringing passed the ball onward to the hard-running Kane down the blindside who sped downfield to score and reach his 1,000 point for SUFC. Congratulations to the club’s point scoring machine. The bell sounded soon after for a victory of 38-7.
The University dressing room was a mixture of seriousness and happiness. Serious to the extent that the weeks ahead see some particularly hard -opposition to confront. The happiness on the flip side was illustrated by the clubs visiting Japanese hooker first grade debutant ‘Fuji’ a young man who came down-under to play for University to improve his rugby. “I am very happy today and enjoyed the play. I came here to be with the top club in Sydney”, said the humble hooker. Fuji along with hooker birthday boy Ben Carolan and starting debutant prop Angus Bell were also celebrating the occasion with varying versions of downing hops and yeast.
Next week a huge battle will unfold at Woollahra Oval against Eastern Suburbs.