Local Illawarra Player Ben Greentree to Play Against British and Irish Lions

Ben GreentreeLocal Illawarra Rugby player Ben Greentree received the phone call of his rugby career last night when he was informed he had been selected in the final 23 man Combined Country squad to play the British and Irish Lions.

An elated Greentree, who plays for the Camden club, said he was both surprised and elated with the news he had made it and was looking forward to the wonderful experience he will have over the coming eight days.

The local Illawarra competition had three other players picked in the original squad in University pair Paul Tuala and Don Nepia together with Avondale flier Eli Sinoti.

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Vikings scrape home against Kiama

For a side that’s only suffered one loss this season, Vikings is playing uninspiring rugby. The First Grade’s 10-9 win over Kiama came in the 79th minute. This was the only time they had the lead in a low quality game that left the Kiama supporters shattered and the Viking supporters relieved but not rejoicing.

The afternoon started with a Colts’ fixture against Engadine. Engadine turned up with only 13 players. Vikings had 16 but agreed to play 13 against 13 to make the contest fairer. This sporting gesture caused the young Blueys considerable discomfort for the next eighty minutes. Whilst even in numbers, the two teams were by no means even in size, the Engadine team having a number of large forwards who were repeatedly sent on rampaging runs into their smaller opponents. Engadine opened the scoring from such an assault, leading to a converted try and a 7-nil lead. Vikings responded soon after with a try to their Number 8 David Capp to equalise at 7 all. Capp is a good prospect. A former Viking Junior, as are many of their senior players, Capp has recently returned from injury and is playing well. The spirit in which some Engadine players approached the game left a lot to be desired and several altercations took place; with one of the Engadine forwards being yellow carded. The score remained 7-all at half time.

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University Scrape Home in Thriller

In a match played at a frenetic pace by two quality well coached sides University overcame a determined Camden 13 -12 at University Oval on Saturday. The healthy crowd who turned out in the drizzly rain were rewarded with the best match I’ve witnessed so far this season.

University went into the match without star No. 8 Paul Tuala, who suffered a strained medial Ligament in his left knee whilst playing for the Cockatoos in Canberra on Friday night. Tuala is expected to be out for six to eight weeks in a major blow to the Mallee Bulls. The rest of the Cockatoos players backed up but were clearly affected by their workload but none the less made significant contributions for both teams.

The pace of the game was high for the full 80 minutes with the hard working efficient Camden forwards having the better of the Uni pack in the first half continually gaining field position. Camden looked to have scored after 10 minutes when they crossed the Uni line only to be denied a try when referee John Maughan ruled a knock on against them in the lead up play. The Bulls Donovan Nepia produced a masterful kicking game to continually turn the Camden charge around to get Uni much needed field position.

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The Rogues Rant

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

You would have to go way back into the IDRU Archives to find when Illawarra last had 9 representatives in the NSW Country Team. That’s exactly what’s happening on Friday May 31 when the NSW Country Cockatoos play the ACT Griffins at Canberra Stadium, as a curtain raiser to the Brumbies V Hurricanes Super 15 match. I’m not sure that we have ever had such strong representation in the history of the zone. Perhaps some of you long term Illawarriors can recall if we have had better. Let us know.

University has four players in the squad with Paul Tuala, Jade Gardiner, Hori Leef and Donovan Nepia joining three players from Camden in Gavin Holder, Ben Greentree and Lee Russell. Joel Diggins from Vikings and Eli Sinoti from Avondale also retain their spots in the squad. It’s a great tribute to our zone and the players in particular for us to be so well represented. All the best guys.

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University Wins Foster Emery Cup

Over the past three seasons the University and Shoalhaven clubs have played for the Foster Emery Cup when they clashed at the Shoalhaven Rugby Park. To put you in the picture Foster Emery was a sporting legend in cricket and rugby circles in the Nowra area and was very influential in getting the Shoalhaven club up and running. Foster also started the Soilco company and this is where the contest between the two clubs originated as Soilco is a major sponsor of both clubs. The Uni connection with Soilco goes back to our former player Charlie Emery, Foster's grandson, who looks after the Wollongong side of the Soilco Business empire.

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Chance to play the Lions

2013 Lions Combined Country HiRezIt will be an anxious week for five Illawarra Rugby sons as they wait to hear if they make the cut for the final Combined Country squad to play the British and Irish Lions in Newcastle next month. An initial squad of 43 players made up of NSW Country and Queensland Country players has been announced and will be reduced to the final squad of 23 to be named next Friday.

The squad is made up of players who are currently playing in Country districts or who originated from Country areas and are now playing Super Rugby, or for Sydney and Brisbane premiership clubs.

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