Uni Bulls Strangle Premiers

MatchReportWollongong University Bulls have achieved in week one of the 2018 season what no other side could complete in all of 2017. Superbly led by veteran Fly Half, Donavon Nepia and outstanding No.8 Paul Tuala, the Bulls strangled defending Premiers Avondale out of their Round 1 IDRU Builders Club Premiership match at Uni Oval, running out 21 – 5 winners.

An extremely efficient defensive effort from the Bulls prevented the champions from settling into their usual free flowing game. With Nepia dictating play throughout with a pin point kicking game, the Bulls set up camp for long periods of time in the Wombats half of the field. A clever tactical game from the Bulls starved Avondale of possession never allowing them to get into their preferred free flowing style.

Tuala and fellow back rowers Takunda Chimwaza, Ben Cheetham and Lock Will Wood, made the area around the Rucks their own preventing the Wombat pack from laying the foundation for their dangerous backs. In a fast paced first half both sides defended strongly as poor early season handling saw several promising attacking plays breakdown at both ends during the first forty minutes.

First points didn’t come until the thirty second minute. With the Bulls pressing the Avondale line, Tuala was held up in the in goal. From the ensuing scrum the Bulls drove the scrum forward toward the Wombat line with No.8 Tuala holding the ball at his feet. Avondale repelled the drive from their line but as the ball emerged from the scrum Chimwaza gathered to cross for the only score of the first half. Nepia goaled for a 7 – 0 half-time lead to the students.

The second term belonged to Uni as it seemed they spent close to 90% of the half camped on the Wombat’s side of the half-way line. It was twenty minutes into the half before the tries came with the Bulls getting two within two minutes. Both tries featured a bit of luck with fluky handling featuring in both.  The first fell to center George Rixon, when a miss directed Avondale pass bounced to him on the halfway line. A forty meter run to the line and a conversion from Nepia had the Bulls out to a 14 – 0 lead.

Nepia started the next with a kick return from deep in his own half. He found Tuala with a long pass at half-way and as Tuala fell in a tackle the No.8 produced a miraculous pass to a fast running Tom Baker who raced away to score another converted try for Uni to clear out to 21 – 0.

With full-time closing in Avondale finally managed to produce one of their signature backline plays to get points on the board. Fullback Jacob Kara was on the end of a well worked backline play in his own half, clearing away down the left. When cornered he exchanged passes with wingman Blake Spencer only to see a Uni defender get a hand to the ball which fortuitously rebounded to Spencer, who raced the final thirty to score for the final 21 – 5 score-line to Uni.

Man of the Match honors deservedly went to Donavon Nepia who orchestrated what was a strong well devised tactical triumph for the students. Outstanding performances also from Takunda Chimwaza, George Rixon and the ever-present Paul Tuala. Jacob Kara showed his class at the back for Avondale while forwards Kieran Jack and Kyle Moody worked well for the Premiers.

University 21 (Takunda Chimwaza 1 try, George Rixon 1 try, Tom Baker 1 try, Donovan Nepia 3 goals)

Def Avondale 5 (Blake Spencer 1 try)

Other Match Results

Shoalhaven 22 Def Campbelltown 19

Vikings 32 Def Shamrocks 21

Bowral 37 Def Tech Waratahs 19

Kiama 18 Def Camden 13

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