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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Vikings go down to Avondale in all three Grades

2013 54 May 25th Avondale V Vikings Vikings Simon Watts goes to groundVikings suffered heavy losses to Avondale in all three Grades over the weekend and will need to work on their defence in the coming weeks if they are to be Premiership contenders this year.

Vikings Third Grade found the size of the Avondale players somewhat intimidating and understandably so. With the Viking forwards under continuous assault from their much larger hard running adversaries, they were unable to establish any sort of platform for their back-line, which actually looked quite handy on the few occasions the ball came their way. After Avondale had gone to an easy 27-nil lead with 5 tries, only one of which was converted, Vikings’ inside centre Nick Matts made a good break to score under the posts, the try being converted by Beau McEwen to make the score 27-7. Matts, a hard running inside centre made another good break soon after, but poor handling saw a second try go begging, leaving 27-7 the half time score. The second half whilst still favouring Avondale was a more even contest with Viking scoring 2 more tries to Avondale’s 3. One of these was a well taken intercept by outside centre Ryan Anderson. Avondale ran out easy winners however, 46-19, scoring 8 tries in the process. Vikings best players were all backs these being Nick Matts, Ryan Anderson and winger Paulo Faveli. In an outgunned forward pack, Nathan Heaton and Adam Lane tried hard for the whole game.

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The Rogues Rant

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

One of the main sideshows during the upcoming Lions tour will be the continuing speculation as to who will coach the Wallabies through to the 2015 World Cup. A winning Lions series for the Wallabies will enhance Robbie Dean’s chances of retaining his job. It has to be said though that the Wallabies haven’t really performed up to expectations during Deans’ term as coach.

Ewan McKenzie also has his hat in the ring. McKenzie has shown over his years with the Reds and previously with the Waratahs, that he has the ability to get the very best out of Aussie players. He will have plenty of support amongst the people that matter.

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