Back-to-back titles for rugby women

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Sydney University made it back-to-back titles when they accounted for Merrylands 35-nil in the Sydney Women’s Rugby grand final played at Pittwater Rugby Park on Saturday.

The Students held a commanding 28-nil lead at half-time and posted a fourth try after the break to wrap up their second title. (They defeated Warringah 23-10 to claim the 2010 title.)

Captain Faz Hayati led from the front to open Sydney University’s account with a solid winger’s try on the back of a six-phase build-up followed by quick ball movement across the backline.

Inside-centre Sarah Jean broke a number of tackles to post the second, while outside-centre Ash Hewson used her speed and step to cross for University’s third try.

Sydney University coach Pat Cunningham was particularly pleased with the Students’ fourth try, which came off a set move on the Merrylands quarter line and resulted in fullback Kelly Ducker hitting the line at pace and angle to score next to the uprights.

Ash Hewson kicked three penalty goals and one conversion, while 16-year rugby veteran, five-eighth Rachelle “Rocky” Pirie, landed two conversions. Pirie has hinted at retirement and a break from being hit by 100kg Merryland loose forwards. 

With the Merrylands team featuring a number of players from the Samoan and Tongan communities, both teams lined up before the game for a prayer of remembrance for the victims and families of the Queensland house fire that claimed five lives last Wednesday.

Teams: Sydney University: Michelle O’Brien, Sheilla Sapulettey, Haruka Takahashi, Michelle Bailey, Danni Cormican, Alex Hargreaves, Sheridan Gho, Iliseva Batibasaga, Rachelle Pirie, Faryaneh Hayati, Sarah Jean. Ash Hewson, Gwendy DeDecker, Kelly Ducker, Mariah Litaki, Jasmin Diab, Elisha Single, Marj Spooner-O’Neill, Beatriz Futura, Marie Yamaguchi, Lauren James, Stephanie Cuvellier. Coaches: Pat Cunningham, Louise Ferris.

Merrylands: Tina Kelemete, Victoria Meki, Ruth Nua, Adi Tupou Lagi Cabealawa, Farlane Winera, Rhiannon Raki, Simaima Taufa, Victoria Latu, Jasmine Huriwai, Alexandra Sulusi, Ashleigh Geesing, Hanna Sio, April Tuigamala, Meliame Lasalo, Bernadette Wolfgram, Rosetta Ngata, Annie Sakava, Susan Fuiamono, Rofina Lasalo. Coach: Mo Polota-Nau.


Sydney Women’s competition – Grand final

Sydney University 35 (Faz Hayati, Sarah Jean, Ash Hewson, Kelly Ducker tries; Ash Hewson 3 goals, 3 pen goals) d Merrylands 0 at Pittwater Rugby Park.

Sydney Men’s grade competition – Round  21

First Grade: Sydney University 32 (Nathan Trist 2, Daniel Halangahu, Bernard Foley tries; Daniel Halangahu 3 goals, 2 pen goals) d Manly 14 (Richard Hooper try; Ben Seymour 3 pen goals) at Sydney University No.1 Oval.

Second Grade: Sydney University 43 (Tom English 2, Sam Talakai, Josh Ellice-Flint, Jack De Guingand, Michael Gellenenti; Angus Roberts 5 goals, pen goal) d Manly 10 (Luke Hanson try; Marshall Milroy goal, pen goal).

Third Grade: Sydney University 28 (Hugo Dessens, Jack Macklin, Josh Koops, Alex O’Donnell tries; Jack Macklin 4 goals) d Manly 0.

Fourth Grade: Sydney University 19 (Harry Marples 2, Fava Sailosi tries; Cam Lawrence 2 goals) d Manly 10 (Brendan Organ try; Shem Grieve goal, pen goal).


First Grade: Sydney University 28 d Manly 25.

Second Grade: Sydney University 41 (6 tries) d Manly 5.

Third Grade: Manly 22 d Sydney University 9.