Sydney University moved to within a point of competition frontrunners Eastwood with their 34-22 Shute Shield win over Eastern Suburbs in perfect conditions at University No.1 Oval on Saturday.
The win secured the David Brockhoff Cup for the second year in a row and completed a clean sweep of the four grades and three Colts matches on the afternoon.
Fullback Angus Roberts scored two of the Students’ five tries before an enthusiastic crowd that included a big contingent of former players at the SURPASS function and supporters of the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA Charity Day.
The two first XV’s had plenty to live up to after a cracking Second Grade fixture, where kicking boots were sent on an extended holiday to Outer Mongolia and running rugby was the order of the day. It was a soothing tonic for true believers suffering mental outrage from kick-infested fixtures. Hearty congratulations go to the coaches of both teams and the players who followed instructions. Despite going down 56-12, Easts still counter-attacked with ball in hand from the own quarter until the end – great stuff.
Sydney University Firsts followed the script and put points on the board in the fifth minute when quick ball across the backline put Roberts in space and he outsped the defence to score in the corner. Five-eighth Dan Kelly added the extras.
Kelly played a hand in the second try when he charged down a clearing kick and shifted the ball through the hands of Ben Murray – on debut – to winger Michael Hodge, who crossed wide out.
The Students added a third midway through the half when a Kelly bomb was not defused and Roberts was on hand to collect the crumbs and sprint away for his second. Kelly’s conversion created a 19-nil scoreline.
Not to be outdone, Easts countered in the 30th minute with a try to prop Ofa Fainga’anuku, who bullocked his way over, and another to outside-centre Elijah Niko after some strong lead-up play. Angus Sinclair converted the Niko effort, while Kelly added a penalty goal for the Students to see them go to the break with a 22-12 lead.
Easts dominated the early second half exchanges and controlled possession and position, resulting in a Sinclair penalty goal and a 22-15 scoreline.
But Sydney University replacement winger Peter Betham stamped his mark on the game midway through the half when he pin-balled his way over, attacking off a 20-metre scrum. At 27-15 the Students should have had the game in hand, but not so.
Easts skipper and number eight Pauliasi Taumoepeau finished off a counter-attacking ensemble play with a try, Sinclair converted for a 27-22 scoreline and everyone at the ground became very interested with 18 minutes on the clock.
The Students lifted a gear and an enterprising backline raid resulted in number eight Trent Dyer making big inroads down the left flank. When he was halted 20 metres out, the Students tore in to a series of pick’n’drives before hooker Sam Roberson crashed over. Kelly converted and the hosts breathed a sigh of relief.
Defending premiers Eastwood head the Shute Shield competition on 49 points with Sydney University (48), Manly (46), Southern Districts (44), Eastern Suburbs (35) and Northern Suburbs (33) making up the top six.
Sydney University head the Club Championship on 2199 points, from Eastwood (1788) and Northern Suburbs (1703).
Sydney University also lead the Second and Third grade ladders, lie second in Fourth Grade and top the three Colts competition ladders.
Sydney Grade competition – Round 12
First Grade – Shute Shield: Sydney University 34 (Angus Roberts 2, Michael Hodge, Sam Roberson, Peter Betham tries; Dan Kelly 3 goals, pen goal) d Eastern Suburbs 22 (Ofa Fainga’anuku, Pauliasi Taumoepeau, Elijah Niko tries; Angus Sinclair 2 goals, pen goal) at Sydney University No.1 Oval.
Second Grade – Colin Caird Shield: Sydney University 56 (Sam Roberson 2, Pieter van der Merwe, B Hodge, Oliver Gresham, Harry Marples, Mark O’Dare, Levi Dodd, W du Plessis tries; Byron Hodge 2 goals; David Fong 2 goals, pen goal) d Eastern Suburbs 12 (Sam Palmer, Damon Anderson tries; Henry Hudson goal).
Third Grade – Henderson Shield: Sydney University 19 (Eddie Paea, Jack Marples, Sione Kaivelata tries; Ben Cannon 2 goals) d Eastern Suburbs 2 (Arvan Anderson, Jeremy Roftos tries; Blake Boulton goal).
Fourth Grade – Henderson Cup: Sydney University 21 (Brad Panayiotuoa, Dan Mafi tries; Jack Macklin goal, 3 pen goals) d Eastern Suburbs 19 (Ted McGroder 2, Ed Brenac tries; Richard Windle 2 goals).
First Grade: Sydney University 58 (10 tries) d Easter Suburbs 0.
Second Grade: Sydney University 52 (8 tries) d Eastern Suburbs 0.
Third Grade: Sydney University 27 (4 tries) d Eastern Suburbs 7.