Sydney University showed plenty of character to claim the competition points with a 30-10 result in a tough encounter with Northern Suburbs under lights at Sydney University No.1 Oval on Friday night.
The young University pack refused to buckle in the trench warfare and with skipper and halfback Matt Schwager turning on a man-of-the-match performance the Students led 17-nil at the break, scored a bonus point fourth try in the second half and ran out comfortable winners. And they retained the John Thornett Cup, awarded for the first time in 2011 for competition between the two clubs.
After withstanding a bash and barge opening, the hosts posted their first try on the 10-minute mark when five-eighth Dan Kelly cracked the defence and sent the ball wide for fullback Angus Roberts to score in the corner.
A bullocking run from tight-head prop Sam Talakai on the 30-minute mark took play to the Norths line, allowing Schwager to dart over for the Students’ second five-pointer.
The third came seconds before the half-time break when the Students cracked Norths defence resulting in second-rower Tom Heslop scoring under the posts.
Norths started the second half with fire in their belly and posted the first points through winger Corer Brown, who showed a blistering turn of speed after collecting a deflected University kick just inside Norths’ half.
The teams traded penalty goals as University maintained a 10-point buffer into the back half of the contest. With their scrum having gained dominance and the lineout working well the hosts applied plenty of pressure with rolling mauls and pick-and-drives as the clock wore down.
The pressure resulted in tries to replacement flanker Anthony Pohlen in the 65th minute and number eight Trent Dyer in the 78th minute.
Having weathered some abrasive opposition, a five-tries-to-one result was a nice night’s work for the Students and a good omen should the going get that tough again come semi-final time.
With wins in Second and Third grades and the three Colts grades, Sydney University maintained their lead in the Club Championship on 1105 points, with Eastwood (956), Eastern Suburbs (934) and Manly (903) in close pursuit.
All roads will lead to Nepean Rugby Park this Saturday for the Round 7 clash with Penrith, the toast of Sydney grade rugby this week after they accounted for Randwick at Coogee Oval and relegated the Galloping Greens to outright last on the ladder.
Sydney Grade competition – Round 6
First Grade – Shute Shield: Sydney University 30 (Tom Heslop. Matt Schwager. Angus Roberts, Anthony Pohlen tries; Nathan Trist goal, Dan Kelly pen goal) d Northern Suburbs 10 (Corey Brown try; Haydn Wolfsbauer goal, pen goal) under lights on Friday night at Sydney University No.1 Oval.
Second Grade – Colin Caird Shield: Sydney University 45 (Pieter van der Merwe, Eddie Burrett, Hugo Dessens, Zabayr Abrahams, Tom English, David Dillon, Sam Roberson tries; David Fong 5 goals) d Northern Suburbs 8 (Jack Freeman try; Alex Lavender pen goal).
Third Grade – Henderson Shield: Sydney University 40 (Sione Kaivelata 3, Sania Mikaio 2, Mark O’Dare tries; Jack Macklin 4 goals, Eddie Paea goal) d Northern Suburbs 3 (Gregor Cannie pen goal).
Fourth Grade – Henderson Cup: Northern Suburbs 17 (Anthony Shortis 2, Sam Palmer tries; Scott Barnes goal) d Sydney University 14 (Cale Holmes, Julien De Chasteigner tries; Cam Lawrence 2 goals).
First Grade: Sydney University 38 (4 tries) d Northern Suburbs 19.
Second Grade: Sydney University 23 (4 tries) d Northern Suburbs 8.
Third Grade: Sydney University 28 (4 tries) d Northern Suburbs 7.