Despite first grades heartbreaking loss to Norths, there is a bit of abibliophobia * in everyone for more rugby. Herein lies the final match report for 2020. Second grade brought home the Colin Caird Shield for the third consecutive year with a 43-27 victory at Leichhardt Oval over Eastern Suburbs.
There was literally four seasons contained in one day as rain, sunshine, wind and rain was subjected to the old ground. Covid-19 marshals were frenetically social distancing the crowd. The only hint of distancing from University was the score sheet as the team went into overdrive.
Easts actually started the scoring with a try through a five-meter rolling maul. But this minor aperitif for their cause was momentary. It was the cue for the Students to commence their execution of power running rugby.
University were attacking just outside the Easts quarter and the ball was put through the hands from a set piece. Just like those plays of yesterday a run around move was performed through five eighth Stefano Hunt and winger Will Goddard. Through a mesmerising sequence of passing bamboozling everyone, Goddard off a slight sort ball running hard on an angle broke through and ran without a hand touching him to score under the posts to score a converted try. An excellent set move devised by the collaboration of coaches Inman, Burge and the Wayne Bennett of Sydney rugby- big Marn Ray Hudd.
If there was a sequel to the 1955 Hollywood movie The Rains of Ranchipur this could be it as University unleashed a deadly torrent of wave after wave of points. When fullback Connor O’Shea scored again minus a hint of Easts epidermis again grabbing his jersey you could predict things were ominous for the tricolors. Easts did score another five pointer but this failed to dilute the ferocity of the University objective. Scores were 14-10 but that soon changed.
The University tradecraft of picking and driving was being delivered. Easts were being exhausted through a constant barrage of blue and gold hoops. Loosehead prop,scholar and renowned Chinese linguist Tom Osborne burrowed through a ruck to score. Elated with his five pointer the big O got up and pumped a fist in the air yelling, “糖醋排骨!”Very apt words indeed Tom! The heritage-listed old scoreboard kept on ticking over and before the next change in the weather pattern University were up 31-10.
The second half continued the try fest and one of the most visually spectacular tries of 2020 was witnessed by those at the ground. The ball was spun wide to the open by University on the halfway mark. Again Hunt was the orchestrator as he bewildered the opposition with his sleight of hands and changes in pace. The ball was kept alive by his supports not wanting to be put in touch. Phases of backing up and keeping the ball alive took hold. Easts were rushing to keep up and failed to stop a rampaging Hamish Dunbar tear through the centre and score under the posts. 38-10 and University were looking good to experience that sweet smell of success. Another try through a five metre rolling maul rounded out their points for the day. Easts did score some tries in the latter stages but the damage to them had been done.
Congratulations to seconds for their threepeat-it was never in doubt and done in style! A big congratulations to the coaching brains trust led by Ray Hudd who notched another premiership for his trophy cabinet.
In an interrupted season it was good to see the competition even start albeit in a modified format. Hopefully in 2021 everyone globally and in a rugby sense can get back to some form of normality. Until 2021-Up the Students!
*Abibliophobia – someone who is afaid of running out of things to read