12.05.2008 – Graham Croker

Sydney University’s First Grade Colts went on a 28-try, 20-goal rampage to defeat Penrith 180-nil at Nepean Rugby Park on Saturday, sending officials in search of the record books.

They’re also in search of a video of the match to verify the result. One match official had the score 189-nil – 29 tries and 22 conversions. Five-eighth Bernard Foley was in charge of goal-kicking duties.

When verified, the final scoreline might not be the only record. Each member of the University starting XV crossed for tries, another statistic that could test the Guinness Book.

Number eight Trent Dyer, second-rower Sam Carter and winger Drikus Hoffman each scored three tries, with the rest going to starting and bench players.

The Students led 90-nil at the break but the players had no idea of the score as the ground scoreboard was not in operation.

Indeed the players were only told the score when they were on the team bus heading back to the city.

Far from gloating, Sydney University Colts co-ordinator Nick Ryan was remorseful for the Penrith troops.

“No young players deserve to be on the end of a result like that,” he said. “They’re good young blokes and I feel genuinely sorry for them. They tried hard to the end, but it’s a competition match and we had to play for the points. It’s not fair for them (Penrith) to be put in that position.”

Ryan’s half-time instructions to his players were to maintain their composure and not resort to any unsporting antics or off-the-cuff football.

“I drummed into them to maintain their process and structures,” he said. “We had a bug go through the three Colts team during the week and about 20 players were out or suffering with diarrhoea and vomiting, so it was a chance for some lower grade players to play First Grade.”

Could the Students have scored 200 points or more? “As we were unaware of the score during the match, it wasn’t an issue,” Ryan said. “The pleasing part for me was the boys stuck to the instructions given at training and at half-time.”

Even to the point of Bernie (Foley) taking care with every kick. He used a kicking tee for each conversion and that probably takes 35 to 40 seconds each kick. Many conversions were in front and he could have drop-kicked goals to save time so, yes, the scoreline might have been higher.

“But the score wasn’t the focus; it was maintaining a disciplined structure.”

And to that end, the coach said his players behaved impeccably during and after the match.

“I made each player go into the Penrith shed after the match, find their opposite number and have a chat,” he said. “They still didn’t know the score at that stage and many of them were surprised when they heard it on the way home.”

Sydney University Colts teams remain unbeaten after seven rounds of the 2008 competition.

The records didn’t end at Nepean Rugby Park. Another was created at University No.1, where University Third Grade five-eighth Justin Bosilkovski, a Colt from 2007, landed a club record 14 conversions in his team’s 118-5 win over Penrith.

Meanwhile, Sydney University First XV maintained their unbeaten run with a 57-nil win over Penrith after leading 26-nil at the break.

Centre Mitch Inman came off the bench to score two tries, while hooker Nathan Charles, prop Laurie Weeks, flanker Jono Jenkins, number eight Tim Davidson, winger Ed Jenkins, centre Leo Afeaki, and utility back Lachlan Rosengreen also crossed for five-pointers, with Daniel Halangahu landing six conversions.

Penrith have had some very close results this season and came east full of commitment. They thoroughly tested the University defence for the last 10 minutes of the first half and a searching period midway through the second half, but the hosts’ defence held firm and coach Damien Hill was pleased they kept the tryline intact.

Just as pleased was forwards coach Trevor Woodman, who once again saw his pack dominate at the set piece.

“We set out at the start of the year to build a strong scrum culture and be competitive at the set piece and they’re doing very well,” he said.

“(Tighthead prop) Laurie Weeks is in his second year in First Grade now and shaping up well.

“We’ve been competitive at the scrum in every match but we’re not getting the rewards we should be because of some refereeing decisions (on possible push-over tries).”

With loosehead Jerry Yanuyanutawa and hooker Nathan Charles, who has just been selected in the Australian Under 20 squad, making up a formidable, and very young, frontrow alongside Weeks, Woodman believes the pack can only improve through consistency and “playing smarter”.

“If they concentrate on the set piece and play smart, anything else the front-row does around the park is a bonus,” he said.

“If the culture of scrummaging is going to change in Australian rugby, it has to change at this (club) level. The culture will then be carried through.”

That’s a nice thought for Sydney University – and Wallaby – supporters to contemplate, coming from the England 2003 World Cup prop.

University Championship

During the 1990’s, an annual fixture between the winners of the NSW and Queensland Club Premiership sides was held.

For reasons unknown, the match did not take place for at least 10 years until, in 2007, Sydney University pushed for the resumption of the fixture.

The result was a match, in April 2007, between Sydney University and Wests of Brisbane, who won the NSW and Queensland Premier Club Rugby titles.

The match, contesting the Australian Club Championship, was played as a curtain-raiser to the Reds versus Sharks Super 14 match at Suncorp Stadium and was won by Sydney University.

The match was fully supported by the Queensland Rugby Union and the New South Wales Rugby Union, who have agreed that this will be an annual fixture and that it will be the curtain-raiser to the annual Reds versus Waratahs Super 14 clash.

This year, as NSW Club Champions, Sydney University will take on Sunnybank (who hammered Gold Coast in the 2007 Queensland Grand Final) as a curtain-raiser to the Reds versus. Waratahs match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, May 17, to decide who will be the Australian Club Champion.

Shute Shield – Round 7

First Grade: Sydney University 57 (Mitch Inman 2, Nathan Charles, Laurie Weeks, Jono Jenkins, Tim Davidson, Ed Jenkins, Leo Afeaki, Lachlan Rosengreen tries; Daniel Halangahu 6 goals) d Penrith 0 at Sydney University No.1.

Second Grade: Sydney University 80 (Harrison Brown 2, Lachlan Rothwell 3, Mitch Inman 2, Nathan Sievert 2, Matt Battishall, Nick Edwards tries; Dan C Kelly 10 goals) d Penrith 12 (Lamarn Ma’a, H. Cilomaiava tries; Brendan Craig goal)

Third Grade: Sydney University 118 (Adam Watson 3, Matt Schwager 3, T Fomua 2, Joey Dawson 2, Semisi Leota 2, Will Stow, Jeremy Aitkin, Tim Aistrope, Tom Harrington, John Morellato, David Haigh tries; Justin Bosilkovski 14 goals) d Penrith 5 (Loimata Livi try).

Fourth Grade: Sydney University 58 (Darren Amituania 2, Joab Hull, I Khan, Jamie Whelan, J Munro, Hugo Dessens, D Cole-Clarke, Digby Beaumont, T Cooper tries; Jamie Whelan 2, J Munro 2 goals) d Penrith 0.
Meldrum Cup: Sydney University 38 d Redfield 22.


First Grade: Sydney University 180 (28 tries) d Penrith 0.
Second Grade: Sydney University 110 (18 tries) d Penrith 0.

Women’s Championship

Sydney University 31 d Bankstown 0.