Razzle Dazzle Premiers Blitz Blueys

MatchReportDefending Premiers Avondale Wombats have turned on the Razzle Dazzle in a nine tries to two, 55 – 12 demolition of Grand Finalists Vikings at Gerry Cappetta Oval. A jubilant Wombats Coach Murray MacDonald was ecstatic with his team’s performance. “I’m very happy. It was our best performance of the year. We’ve made a couple of changes to our backline structure and it really came good today”, said the premiership winning coach after his sides twelfth win of the year  

The switching of Silipa Tuigamala from Fly-Half to Fullback following the Wombats loss to Bowral paid huge dividends today with the flamboyant fullback scoring two tries and having a hand in several others. A Bonus Point earning four tries were on the board by the break and five more followed the interval in what was a completely dominant performance from the Premiers.

Vikings started the match with plenty of structure and composure taking the lead through a try by winger Adam Rodd after ten minutes and looked to be building for a strong performance against the competition leaders.

Wombats Fly Half Antonio Ale responded minutes later for Avondale with a try that sparked the Wombat attacking machine into action. Ale scored after Flanker Gus Faleauto made a charging run at the Vikings line which inspired the Wombat pack to knuckle down to their work.

Led up front by their young front rowers, the Amone brothers, Anthony and little brother Tavite, and impressive Hooker Jeromy Cairns the Wombats powered into their game as the Vikings defense fell apart. Winger Jesse Leng crossed after Tuigamala bumped off two defenders opening up a clear run to the line for his wingman.

With the Vikings one on one defensive effort leaving a lot to be desired Avondale launched wave after wave of attack at the Vikings line. After Wombats had players held up over the line by desperate and tiring Vikings defenders on two occasions, Lock Amulone Ika scored a converted try and shortly after winger Blake Spencer took advantage of a wicked bounce from an Antonio Ale attacking kick to post his side’s fourth try. Tuigamala converted two of the tries as the Wombats took a 24 – 5 lead to the break.

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The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

Courtesy once again of the Old Illawarrior I read a very quirky and charming article this week from across the Ditch. At a time when there is plenty being said about Grass Roots Rugby in this country it’s interesting to see that they are having similar problems in this regard in New Zealand as well. Perhaps not however on the same scale as here in Australia, these changing social times are impacting on the traditional game in New Zealand as well. This article looks at the Dean Cup in the Taranaki region of the North Island, a cup with over 100 years of local Rugby history. The article comes from the New Zealand Herald and is well worth a read! Check it out; it’s a feel good story. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/indepth/sport/dean-cup-rugby/

The attacking flair of the Brandon brothers down Shoalhaven way came to the fore again last week. In an amazing performance the Brothers between them scored all the Shoalies points in their vital 44 – 36 win over Vikings. Mark crossed for 4 tries, while Steven could only manage one for the day, a quiet one for him. Kieran came up with 2 tries and added 4 goals from the boot. All season the boys have been exciting fans from all clubs as they continually express themselves, showing amazing speed, agility and strength as they play a pivotal role in the Shoalies charge to the finals. Let’s hope they can stay healthy, not only for the sake of the Shoalies run to the finals but for the sheer pleasure that they bring to Rugby fans allover.

Well it’s Finals time for Super Rugby this week. It’s really hard to get excited given the whole atmosphere surrounding Super Rugby. The form of several teams over the last few weeks following the International hiatus has left a bit to be desired leading into the Finals Series, The Waratahs included. The Waratahs form against the Brumbies would not have filled the most ardent NSW supporter with any great amount of confidence going into this week’s match up with the Highlanders. I think we will still have three Kiwi sides alive going into the next week. My tips for the first week of Finals: Hurricanes, Crusaders, Highlanders and Lions.

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Costly Win For University Over Shamrocks

MatchReportIn a high paced enthralling Rugby match at Ocean Park, University have retained fourth spot on the competition table with a 24 – 17 victory over a gallant Shamrocks side. The win came at a huge cost to the students with major injuries adding to their already lengthy casualty list for the season. Young Lock John Melville suffered an ankle dislocation and soon after with fifteen minutes left in the first half the students lost star center Sam Latu with a suspected broken leg.

The match was played at a brisk pace throughout with the result in the balance until a last minute try by Paul Tuala sealed the four tries to three victory for the Bulls. University guided around the park once again by veterans Leon Mason and Donovan Nepia turned on an expansive attacking game which was matched by another doggedly powerful defensive effort from the Rocks. With Uni establishing a 14 – 5 lead after twenty five minutes of frantic play, the Latu injury caused a thirty three minute delay to proceedings as the big center was prepared for transport to Hospital by ambulance.

First points in the match came eight minutes in through Bulls Front Rower Casey Rameka who was on the end of several phases of pick and drive to score a converted try. Shortly after Shamocks scored through center Dale Sullivan who was on the spot to reclaim possession after a series of handling errors fell the Rocks way.

A sweeping fifty meter play involving some eight Bulls players produced the next try to Lachlan Conyers who streaked away after a pin point pass from Mason to score. Charles Curry added his second conversion for the day for Uni to lead 14 – 5 after twenty minutes. As part of the lead up to the try Melville suffered his ankle dislocation which caused the first of the delays for the match.

With some thirteen minutes to run to the break, Sam Latu set off on one of his trademark power runs only to be confronted by a strong front on tackle from Heath Mercer. The incident left Latu prone on the ground with a suspected broken leg which caused a lengthy delay to proceedings. On the resumption of play the Bulls set up camp in the Shamrocks half and launched raid after raid at the Rocks line but couldn’t breach the strong defensive line. With no points coming the Bulls ended the half with a 14 – 5 lead.

Early in the second stanza Uni Lock Will Wood produced an astonishing try down the western touchline. Wood took possession close to the halfway line and started a run beating several unusually feeble tackle attempts finding himself in the open. With Wood desperately looking for support that didn’t arrive, the big Lock made his ground to the line and scored in the corner leaving several defenders in his wake.

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The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

Season 2018 is shaping as one of the best in the history of Illawarra Rugby. The year started brilliantly with Country Championships coming our way in numbers. The year started with our Women taking out the Country Title at Campbelltown, followed by the men bringing home the Caldwell Cup with a dominant performance in Warren. The title’s kept coming with our Junior Illawarriors bringing home four more Country Championships. Add to this the fact that Illawarra supplied nine players to the Country Cockatoos program with Avondale’s big No.8 Tuumuliilevao Taiti-Taanoa taking out the Will Tanner Award for Country Player of the Year. Locally the Builders Club Premiership is proving to be one of the most closely contested for some time. The current table sees the same six sides placed one to six as they finished at the end of the rounds in 2017. With six rounds remaining six or seven sides are still in the running for the top four. Given the results we’ve seen so far this season any of the top six are capable of beating any of the others on any given day. It certainly looks like we are in for a very interesting six weeks and an even more interesting final series to finish a memorable year of Rugby. Bring it on!

It will be a big afternoon on Saturday at Ocean Park for one of Shamrocks favorite sons Jordan Whitehead. The very well respected Shamrocks champion will play his 400th grade game for the Rocks in second grade against University. Jordan started his years at the club in 1996 as a winger in the Under 13’s. He moved into grade in the year 2000 and made his first grade debut as a 20 year old in 2002. He won premierships in 2000 (U/19’s), 2001 (2nd Grade) and was a member of both successful 1st and 2nd Grade squads in 2007. With 194 First Grade games under his belt Jordan will lead the seconds out at 1.30 on Saturday for his 400th appearance for the great club. Get there early all you Rugby supporters on Saturday and give a true gentleman of the game the recognition he so much deserves. Well done and congratulations to Jordan on a wonderful achievement.

Last round for Super Rugby this weekend and there is still plenty of possibilities for the upcoming finals. However if things go the way I’m tipping then things should finish as they currently stand. Depending on how the Waratahs go against the Brumbies and the Lions go against the Bulls will decide who gets the all-important overall second ranking for the finals and the possible home semi-final that goes with it. The Rebels can join the Waratahs in the play offs but are up against the Highlanders across the ditch. A loss to the Highlanders will have the Rebels looking for a Jaguares win over the Sharks to hold onto eighth spot in the final rankings. I’m tipping that it will be four Kiwi teams, two Aussies, the Lions and the Jaguares in the final eight. My tips this week: Hurricanes, Reds, Highlanders, Crusaders, Waratahs, Lions, Sharks.

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Bowral Outsmart Premiers

MatchReportThe Bowral Blacks have closed the gap at the top of the IDRU Builders Club Premiership ladder with a clinical and disciplined 20 – 12 victory over Avondale at Eridge Park. With Vikings winning against University the Blueys and Blacks are now just four points adrift of the reigning Premiers after 12 Rounds. With today’s Round 11 match Results University retains fourth, while Shamrocks leapfrog Shoalhaven into equal fifth spot six points back.

At Eridge Park, Bowral played a strong tactical game to blot out the Wombats attacking potential and after scoring the first three tries of the match, took a strong grip on the match when leading 20 – 0 shortly after the break. The Blacks denied Avondale any chance of producing their best attacking game by employing a very effective fast moving compressed line of defense stifling the Wombats usual free flowing style of play.

Bowral got away to the perfect start scoring their first try after less than one minute of play. From a Bowral kick off Wombat Fly-Half Silipa Tuigamala immediately returned the ball up field using the strong tail wind. Blacks Fullback Ryan Hutchings-Knight fielded the ball on halfway and ripped through the Wombat defenders in a forty meter run setting up No. 8 Tim Lewis for the try in the left corner for an early 5 – 0 lead.

In a gripping first forty minutes the Blacks defensive structure repelled all that the Wombats attack could throw at them. The Avondale scrum dominated at the set piece but the Bowral forwards competed strongly at the breakdown with No.8 Tim Lewis leading the way winning several turn overs. The contest in the backs was equally as absorbing with both center pairing competing strongly trying to get the better of their opponents throughout.

With seven minutes left to the break, Bowral Halfback and Captain Tim Small started a play from a scrum deep in his own half. Going to the blindside Small took the ball down the right and kicked ahead for his winger Thomas Mooney. The wingman got the perfect bounce some forty meters out from the Wombat line and took on several defenders in a powerful run down the touch line to score his sides’ second try. Fly Half Lachlan Huntington couldn’t convert the try into the wind but added a penalty goal three minutes later and Bowral took a 13 – 0 lead to the interval.

Bowral had another dream start to the second stanza when Mooney got his second five pointer ten minutes in. Huntington created the play with a quick dart at the Wombat defensive line drawing plenty of attention before producing a sweet pass to Mooney who once again powered away in a forty meter run to the line. Huntington converted and Bowral were out to a strong 20 – 0 lead.

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The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

Illawarra Rugby’s very successful year in Country Rugby continues with the awarding of the Will Tanner Award for Country Player of the Year going to Avondale No. 8 Tuumuliilevao Taiti-Taanoa. Tuu’s award was presented after the Cockatoos narrow loss to Qld Country in Gooniwindi last weekend. His form for the Wombats, the Illawarriors and now the Cockatoos has been outstanding with the big fella thoroughly deserving this prestigious honor. Tuu joins fellow Illawarriors Paul Tuala and Gavin Holder as recent recipients of the highest honor in NSW Country Rugby. Well done big fella!2018 25 Will Tanner Award Tuu uliilevao Taiti Taanoa

The IDRU Judiciary was required to deal with the aftermath of a very nasty incident from a couple of weeks ago at Campbelltown Showground. A player was suspended this week for 15 years after a Touch Judge was struck during the second grade match between Campbelltown and Vikings. To their credit the Quinnies acted swiftly expelling the troublemakers from the club and it’s hoped that the ARU Administrative systems are such that these people never find their way onto a Rugby Ground ever again.

University coach Dion Miller was very happy with his young players after last week’s win over Shoalhaven. Playing with five players away at Cockatoos duties, the club had to depend on many young inexperienced players for this big assignment against an in form Shoalhaven side. Coach Miller commented after the match, “It was a great game from our team of young guys who have been working hard to get into first grade and they got their chance here. Just awesome to see young fellas step up and be proud of their achievements and to know that if they work hard their chance will come.”  Did I detect a little tear in the eye of the coach there?

Two weeks left before the Super Rugby finals with the final makeup of the play offs still to be finalized. As things stand at the moment the Kiwis will dominate the standings with four New Zealand sides sitting in the mix but the last two rounds will very much impact on who will make the final places for 2018. The Waratahs sit on top of the Aussie pool and should stay there and qualify with a home game in Round 1 of the play offs. Depending on this week’s matches however it could come down to their last round match against the Brumbies before the spot is decided. The Rebels are currently clinging to the last spot in the play offs. It all makes for an Interesting couple of weeks to come. My tips for this week: Crusaders, Rebels, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Waratahs, Bulls and Stormers.

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