Sydney University five-eighth Daniel Halangahu engineered two tries, scored one himself and landed three conversions and two penalty goals in windy conditions as the Students defeated Randwick 32-17 at University Oval on Saturday.
With his first touch in the game, off a scrum in the 2nd minute, Halangahu took on the defence before sending a short pass to winger Ed Jenkins who ran an inside angle through Randwick centres Michael Berne and Metui Maile to score next to the posts. It was a very well-rehearsed movement.
The University No.10 landed the conversion and then added two penalty goals as the Students raced to a 13-nil lead.
Operating off another solid scrum in the 27th minute, Halangahu executed a pin-point cross-field kick for winger Nick Edwards, who fielded the ball on the full and at pace to score in the corner. This was another well-drilled movement off a set piece, and an innovation to counter the in-your-face defences the backline has been encountering throughout the season.
The University No.10 landed the sideline conversion in swirling wind for a 20-nil scoreline.
Sydney University’s defence had been rock-solid until the last minute of the half when Randwick hit back off a run from five-eighth Tim Walsh, who set up quick ruck ball. Fullback Dan Nethery linked with number eight Stephen Hoiles, who drew the last line of defence and sent flanker Rodney Voullaire over next to the posts. Walsh’s conversion made the scoreline 20-7 in favour of the hosts.
With the University scrum gaining the ascendency and the lineout working well, the Students had dominated most of the half and their first-rate defence was highlighted by try-saving tackles from prop Laurie Weeks on halfback Josh Valentine and Jenkins, who was marking man-mountain Ratu Nasiganiyavi.
The only downside for the Students in the opening stanza was the departure of inside-centre Dan Kelly with a knee injury that could cruelly sideline him for the season. If so, he will be a serious loss in the finals campaign.
The second half opened in similar fashion to the first, and again it was Halangahu in the action. He combined with Kelly’s replacement Mitch Inman and prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa to take play into the Randwick quarter, then loomed up on the blindside of the ruck to bullock his way over for a try in the 43rd minute.
The tide of the game then changed. A string of 11 penalties to the visitors (the final tally was 18-13 to Randwick) helped them maintain field position and test the University defensive line. A number of the penalties from referee Ian Smith virtually depowered the dominant University scrum, with Yanuyanutawa getting the full suite: twice for “not binding”, once for “shifting across” and once for “driving up on the angle”.
And, to compound the problem, the Students lost tighthead Laurie Weeks – the dominant prop in the competition – to an ankle injury. The Randwick pack added to the irony by winning a tighthead as Weeks made his way to the sideline.
The visitors also had their injury problems, with Peter Jorgensen coming on for Maile and David Batiratu for Nasiganiyavi.
Randwick’s fightback started when Berne charged down an attempted clearing kick from University fullback Nathan Trist. Bustling runs from second-rower Mark Chisholm and hooker Antonio Halangahu provided Valentine with quick ball. Hoiles and flanker Chris Houston joined the line to send winger Francis Fainifo over in the corner for a 25-12 scoreline.
The hosts absorbed plenty of pressure as Randwick kept play in the danger zone, and it was the University No.10 who again came to the rescue. Working off a scrum near half-way, Halangahu sent straight-running Inman through a yawning gap in the Randwick midfield. Inman linked with Trist, who sent Edwards over for his second try. Halangahu’s sideline conversion took the score to 32-12.
Hoiles and Chisholm each handled twice in setting up the final try of the match. Their 30-metre charged enabled Valentine to send prop Lotu Taukeiaho over for a 32-17 scoreline.
With the minor premiership wrapped up, the win kept the Student’s two-and-a-half year undefeated run on University Oval intact. They will meet Southern Districts at Forshaw Rugby Park on Saturday in the final round of the competition proper.
Colts record goes begging
The brave attempt by the three Sydney University Colts team to go through the competition undefeated came unstuck on Saturday when Thirds went down 20-nil to Randwick.
The three teams, who are each defending premiers, had gone through 20 rounds undefeated – with several come-from-behind wins and one draw – before Randwick spoilt the party on Saturday.
They had the Colts Club Championship and three minor premierships wrapped up two weeks ago.
Shute Shield – Round 21
First Grade: Sydney University 32 (Nick Edwards 2, Daniel Halangahu, Ed Jenkins tries; Daniel Halangahu 3 goals, 2 pen goals) d Randwick 17 (Lotu Taukeiaho, Rodney Voullaire, Francis Fainifo tries; Tim Walsh goal) at Sydney University No.1 Oval.
Second Grade: Randwick 47 (Danny Kroll 2, Dan Nethery 2, Tony Luxford, Matt Farmer, David Batiratu tries; Danny Kroll 6 goals) d Sydney University 10 (Pauliasi Taumoepeau try; Jeremy Atkin goal, pen goal).
Third Grade: Randwick 24 (Matt O’Connor, Josh Malouf, Paul Hannify tries; Toby Browne 3 goal, pen goal) d Sydney University 10 (Justin Bosilkovski, Junior Tuitaria tries).
Fourth Grade: Randwick 22 (Ryan Shearman, C. Tramer, Kiti Vasu tries; Wara Paki Hunita 2 goals, pen goal) d Sydney University 7 (Jono Bowman try; C. Sorbi goal).
First Grade: Sydney University 46 (8 tries) d Randwick 3.
Second Grade: Sydney University 26 (4 tries) d Randwick 7.
Third Grade: Randwick 20 d Sydney University 0.