Brandon Brothers Blitz Bulls

MatchReportAn energetic Shoalhaven side has given notice of its strong presence in this year’s IDRU Builders Club Premiership with a heart stopping last minute victory over the University Bulls at Shoalhaven Rugby Park. With the students leading by three Shoalies hooker Clark Chancellor was sent to the Bin with 7 minutes remaining but it was replacement front rower Tristan Healy who crossed for a try to snatch a 27 – 25 win for his side in the final seconds of the match.

In an entertaining fast flowing match there were nine tries scored as the lead changed on six occasions. The Brandon brothers were outstanding in attack for the Shoalies with one or more of the brothers involved in all of their sides scoring movements. The Bulls attempted to employ the same tactics that worked so well for them in their first round victory over Avondale but the enthusiasm of their opponents dominated much of the play in the first half.

Uni Fly-Half Donovan Nepia opened the scoring with an early penalty goal before wingman Justin Stanbrook finished off a sweeping backline raid to score wide on the right for an 8 – 0 lead after seven minutes. The Bulls appeared to be settling into their work, but it was the enthusiastic Shoalhaven forwards led by Locks Aaron Louden and Kain Curtain who set the standard for the remainder of the first stanza.

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The Rogues Rant

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

The Junior Illawarrior Under 13 Squad is heading off on their New Zealand tour this Saturday. They had a big night earlier this week when Wallaby great David Campese came to town and put the boys through their paces at Kiama Showground. After running the boys through some well executed drills, the night was capped off by the great man presenting the players with their Tour Jumpers. The night was a chance for the boys to say thank you to all their very much appreciated sponsors and supporting family members whose fundraising efforts have helped to make the trip possible. It’s sure to be a very enjoyable trip for all the young guys, their Coaching Staff and supporters. Enjoy the trip guys! The Kick n Chase TV crew were on hand the other night so keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a bit of Illawarra Rugby on the Box.

The NSW Super W girls have taken all before them in the new Tournament. After going through the Rounds unbeaten the girls have now earnt the right to host the final against the Queenslanders. The match against the Michael Hayes coached Reds side will be played as a curtain raiser to the Waratahs V Lions match at Allianz Stadium on Friday 20th April. The Women’s match will kick off at 4.45 and will be seen live on Fox Sports as well. The NSW ladies had a big win last week in Melbourne over the Rebels by 57 – 0. That came on the back of wins over the Brumbies 24 – 5, the Force 32 – 10 and the Reds in Round 1 by 18 – 0. They’ll go into the final as raging favorites but I’m sure their assistant coach Sean Barrett won’t allow any complacency in the big game.

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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.

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The Rogues Rant

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

This Saturday April 7, marks the start of the 2018 IDRU Builders Club Premiership. After a couple of quiet months to start the year things are really starting to get into full swing. April and May are going to very busy with various events on the way to keep all parts of Illawarra Rugby active. The Dexter Porter Blood Cup gets away this weekend as well running right throughout the season proper. Check out the Information Poster next to this column. The Senior Illawarriors and Colts are off to the NSW Country Championships in Warren on the 28/29th April, whilst on the same weekend our Junior Illawarriors will be heading to the Central Coast for Trials against the Coasties in 12’s, 14’s, 15’s, 16’s and Opens at Wanervale on Sunday April 29. The Illawarrior Womens team will be the hosts for this year’s NSW Country Womens Championships to be played at Campbelltown Showground on May 12. Don’t forget this year’s Digger Day set for Shoalhaven Rugby Park on Saturday July 28.

We’ve witnessed several eye catching performances by Shoalhaven junior Will Miller off the bench for the Waratahs this year. Will has finally been rewarded with a starting berth for this week’s Super 15 match up with The Sunwolves in Tokyo. Will has had a couple of big years staring with Norths in the Shute Shield and also getting a run with the Rebels and in the NRC over the last couple of years. He has well and truly earnt his spot in this weeks starting lineup for the Waratahs and I’m sure there will be plenty of people south of the Royal National Park tuning in on Saturday. Well done to Will, our latest Illawarra Junior to make his mark in Super Rugby.

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Dexter Porter Blood Cup - Up and Running

Dexter Porter Blood Cup 18 1The Dexter Porter Blood Cup for 2018 is now officially up and running. Blood Cup Co-ordinator Keiran Smith launched this years Blood Drive at the recent IDRU Season Launch. The Blood Cup this year will right throughout the entire IDRU Builders Club Premiership Season kicking off this week April 7 co-inciding with Round One of the Comp. Check out the Poster for all the details and come on evryone "Get Busy".

The Rogues Rant

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

Season 2018 is upon us, Round 1 is next Saturday April 7th. IDRU President Peter Woods launched the year at a special function at Shamrocks home ground Ocean Park last Sunday attended by all the District Clubs. Board member Darin Crofts announced that the Illawarra will be hosting the NSW Country Women’s Championship Tournament this year at Campbelltown Showground on the 12th May. Illawarriors Head Coach Richard Thompson reported on the progress of the Illawarriors Squads as they prepare for Country Week in Warren at the end of April.  New Junior Illawarra Chairman Wayne Cusack outlined the year ahead for Illawarra Junior Rugby. It was good to see the roll up of so many familiar faces as we rush toward another Rugby season to enjoy. First Round matches next week are Campbelltown V Shoalhaven, Kiama V Camden, University V Avondale, Tech Waratahs V Bowral, Shamrocks V Vikings.

Illawarriors Head Coach Richard Thompson has assembled a very experienced and talented coaching staff for this year’s Caldwell Cup campaign. With Shaun  McCreedy and Don Nepia involved again this year, former Illawarrior Head Coach Brendon Schoupe has joined the group as Defensive Coach. Ex Illawarrior Captains Gavin Holder and Tim Olsen are also involved preparing both the Colts and Senior squads for the big trip out to Warren in four weeks’ time.

The events of last week in the Cape Town Cricket Test has amazed, saddened and indeed angered sports fans right around Australia. The players have been suspended for their actions as they should have been. However I can’t help but feel that the punishment does not match the crime. The suspensions handed out by Cricket Australia don’t reflect the standards set by the ICC and will undoubtedly be challenged by the Australian Cricketers Association. I reckon six month suspensions are more in keeping with the gravity of the situation.

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