Season opens with Australian title

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Sydney University Football Club opened the 2013 season on a winning note, claiming the Australian Club Championship with a comprehensive 43-7 win over the University of Queensland in a Super 15 Rugby curtain-raiser to the recent Auckland Blues –NSW Waratahs match at Sydney Football Stadium.

The seven tries to one win resulted in Sydney University reclaiming the title they last held in 2007. The Australian Club Championship is contested by the premiers of the Sydney and Brisbane club competitions from the previous season.

The two universities last met for the Australian crown at the start of the 2011 season after they had won their respective 2010 competitions. The University of Queensland triumphed 42-26 on that occasion at Ballymore.

With two trials – against Tuggeranong Vikings and Randwick – under their belts before the ACC clash, Sydney University head coach Chris Malone has his troops in good stead to start the defence of their 2012 Sydney grade rugby title when they take on Parramatta in the first round of the Shute Shield at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park this Saturday.

“We have been able to play some testing trial games against the Tuggeranong and Randwick, but the Australian Club Championship match has been our biggest test so far for the pre-season,” Malone said.

The ACC win was built on a dominant scrum, which often had UQ on the backfoot, an effective line-out and an organised backline that took opportunities when they arose.

Sydney University scored three tries in the first half and went to the break with a 17-nil lead. Their first-half dominance resulted in another four tries and a 43-nil lead after 20 minutes of the second half.

Among the standouts were backrower Trent Dyer, Jock Merriman, who came on at five-eighth to replace the injured Stuart Dunbar, halfback Jake Gordon and fullback Nathan Trist.

With regular First Graders David Hickey, Dan Kelly,Greg Jeloudev andJames McMahon unavailable, coach Malone was able to blood some youngsters.

“We have some promising players moving up to grade this year, after a number of successful years in our Colts program”, he said. One such player is halfback Gordon, whose 40-metre bust from a scrum led to Trist’s try beside the posts.  Other 2012 Colts to show promise were Tolu Latu and utility back James Dargaville, who made the break that led to a fine try from Michael Hodge.

While there were plenty of talented youngsters running around, there were also some handy seniors in lock Liam Winton, OllieAtkins, Tom Carter and Jeremy Tilse to provide direction.

“It’s a huge honour to be crowned Australian Club Champions”, coach Malone said. “Our attention now turns to the rest of our 2013 campaign”.

Sydney University 43 (Trent Dyer 2, Levi Dodd, Jock Merriman, Nathan Trist, Tolu Latu, Michael Hodge tries; David Fong 3 cons, Nathan Trist con) d University of Queensland 7 (Jamie Tualagi try; con).