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.

The try shocked the Rocks and saw them produce their best attacking effort of the game. Two tries followed for the Rocks in the next thirty minutes of play to bring them within two points of the lead. Prop Lachlan King crossed for the first after a sustained period of forward play close to the Uni line. With Fly-Half Thomas McDevitt converting the try the Rocks were back within seven of the lead.

Shamrocks chances were dealt a blow when replacement forward Xavier McDevitt was Yellow Carded for deliberately knocking the ball down with thirteen left on the clock. Despite being one short the Rocks continued to have the better of the play continuing to attack at every opportunity. Fly-Half McDevitt kicked through close to the Bulls line and after a frantic scramble for the ball it was Rocks Lock Damien Clark who came up with the ball and scored to bring his side within two on the scoreboard. With McDevitt suffering a leg injury in the lead-up to the try, Fullback Callum Wilkins took the shot at goal but missed leaving the Rocks two behind at 17 – 19 with eight minutes left.

With the intensity of the match showing no signs of dissipating play continued to flow from end to end as both sides looked to seal the win. It was left to champion No.8 Paul Tuala to produce the final play of the game as he carried two desperate Rock defenders over the line for the match sealing try in the south west corner.  

In another high quality match Uni dominated the attack for the most part with the Rocks players once again showing their willingness to tackle has no limit. The four tries to three margin with the result in doubt right up to the final whistle was a good indication of the match and the closeness between the sides. Shamrocks need to find more commitment in attack to match their remarkable defensive effort that has become their trademark. University now has some nine first grade players unavailable through injury and will need plenty of good fortune in the coming weeks to remain in the Premiership race.

The back rowers from both sides were stand outs in this match. For the winners Wood, Flankers Michael Malaki and Takunda Chimwaza along with Tuala never flinched from the task. Casey Rameka continues to impress up front while veterans Half Leon Mason and Fullback Don Nepia, whose lengthy kicking game was prominent again today, provide much guidance to the young Student side.

For the Rocks Anthony Allport showed strong leadership for his younger teammates with another outstanding effort coming from forwards Jesse Roche, Heath Mercer, Damien Cook, Gareth Thomas and Iszac Lunney.  Dale Sullivan impressed again in the backs with his center partner Rhys Peters making a solid and welcome return for the club.

University 24 (Casey Rameka 1 try, Lachlan Conyers 1 try, William Wood 1 try, Paul Tuala 1 try, Charles Curry 2 goals)

Def Shamrocks 17 (Dale Sullivan 1 try, Lachlan King 1 try, Damien Cook 1 try, Thomas McDevitt 1 goal)

Other Match Results

Avondale 67 Def Camden 14

Tech Waratahs 29 Def Campbelltown 27

Bowral 52 Def Kiama 7

Shoalhaven 44 Def Vikings 36      

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