Graham Croker

A late length-of-the-field intercept try from Northern Suburbs winger Zac Holmes allied with a gutsy defensive line across the park saw the visitors earn a rare Premier rugby win at Sydney University No.1 Oval on Friday night.

The Shoremen led 7-6 at the break and 13-11 with 20 minutes on the clock, making for an exciting finish for Friday Night Football under lights.

But with the Students mounting an attacking foray inside Norths’ quarter, the nuggety Holmes came out of the defensive line to intercept a cut-out pass and race away to score under the posts. He converted the try and added a penalty in the dying stages to seal the win.

The Students held a territorial advantage for the first 20 minutes of the match and came away with two penalty goals from fullback Alex Rokobaro, who also went close to bagging a try from a goalpost rebound.

However, the six-nil lead was changed in an instant following a long clearing kick by Norths which landed deep inside the University quarter.

A wayward lineout allowed Norths the option of a scrum. From the scrum win, Norths number eight AJ Gilbert ventured down the blindside and muscled his way over the line.  Holmes converted from near the touchline and Norths took a 7-6 lead into the half-time break.

Holmes landed another two penalties early in the second half for a 13-6 advantage, and as the Students increased their attacking intentions, the visitors lifted the defensive prowess.

The line eventually cracked when breakaway Lachlan McCutcheon received the ball from 20 metres out and strode through the Norths defensive line to score next to the uprights. But what should have been a deadlocked scoreline remained 13-11 in Norths favour as the throw-over conversion attempt went astray – not for the first time this season.

Although University continued to monopolise possession, they couldn’t breach   Norths’ defensive line again, and when Holmes struck with his late try the writing was on the wall for a second home defeat in 2011.

While Firsts missed out on the points, Sydney University stayed at the head of the Club Championship when the Seconds, Fourths and the three Colts teams won on Saturday and Thirds battled out an 18-all draw.


Sydney Premier competition – Round 6

First Grade: Northern Suburbs 23 (AJ Gilbert, Zac Holmes tries; Zac Holmes 2 goals, 3 pen goals) d Sydney University 11 (Lachlan McCutcheon try; Alex Rokobaro 2 pen goals) at Sydney University No.1 Oval.

Second Grade: Sydney University 37 (Chris Chapman 2, Harry Marples, Tom Boidin, Dan Kelly, Zeb Stegmann tries; Eddie Bredenhann 2 goals, pen goal) d Northern Suburbs 22 (Corey Brown 2, Scott Sio tries; Ben Borg 2 goals, pen goal).

Third Grade: Sydney University 18 (Josh Koops, Jeremy Atkin tries; Jack Macklin goal, 2 pen goals) drew with Northern Suburbs 18 (Dan Murray, Gordon Whitehead tries; Tom Lee goal, 2 pen goals)

Fourth Grade: Sydney University 39 (Michael Maikaili 4, Ian Hilliard, A O’Donald tries; Will Runciman 2 goals, pen goal, Elih Baillie goal) d Northern Suburbs 13 (Lou Richards try; Scott Barnes goal, 2 pen goals).


First Grade: Sydney University 37 (5 tries) d Northern Suburbs 12.

Second Grade: Sydney University 36 (6 tries) d Northern Suburbs 5

Third Grade: Sydney University 26 (4 tries) d Northern Suburbs 0.