Sydney University progressed to their ninth consecutive Shute Shield grand final when they accounted for Southern Districts 47-19 in menacing manner in their semi-final at Sydney University No.1 Oval on Saturday.
The Students scored seven tries to three with a potent backline and a very solid eight, but captain Tim Davidson, playing his last home game after announcing his retirement, said they will need to improve their defensive efforts when they meet Eastwood in the season decider at Concord Oval on Saturday.
“Southern Districts found some holes in and around our defence,” he said. “We’re going to have to have a look at that and be better prepared for next week if we want to go on with it. We played well in patches, but we have to be more consistent.”
It will be the sixth time Sydney University and Eastwood have met in the Shute Shield grand final since 1999, with the Woodies triumphing 34-17 in 1999, 19-15 in 2002 and 19-16 in 2011. The Students won 27-20 in 2001 and 17-10 in 2006.
Indeed, the two clubs will contest the four grades this Saturday after each club won their respective semi-finals in the Colin Caird Shield (Second Grade), Henderson Shield (Third Grade) and Henderson Cup (Fourth Grade) on Saturday and Sunday.
With five-eighth Bernard Foley directing proceedings in First Grade, the Students led 26-5 at halftime on the back of four tries, and went on with it the job in the second half.
The Students created plenty of turnover ball at the breakdown to dominate the final half hour of each half.
While Davidson has decided to call it a day at the end of the season, his long-time compatriot Tom Carter is in the throes of making the same decision.
Davidson will be captaining the side to his 11th grand final – two in the Tooheys Cup in 2005 and 2006 and nine in the Shute Shield from 2005-13. It is an imposing record along with 165 First Grade games and a winning ratio of 90.16 per cent.
Carter played his 150th club match at the weekend, a wonderful achievement coinciding with a 10-year career at the NSW Waratahs, where he is the 18th most capped player with 84 appearances.
Sydney University’s push for a clean sweep of the four grade titles and the three Colts titles came unstuck on Saturday when Eastern Suburbs Thirds opened the day at Forshaw Rugby Park with a 21-15 win over Sydney University in the Third Grade Colts decider.
However, the Students successfully defended the Shell Trophy for the Second Grade title with a 25-12 over Eastwood, and the W. McMahon Memorial Shield for the First Grade title with a nail-biting 36-35 win over Manly.
They also claimed the Eric Spilstead Shield for Colts Club Championship.
Sydney Men’s Grade competition – Preliminary Finals
First Grade: Sydney University 47 (Tom Kingston 2, Tom English, Peter Betham, Nick Phipps, Dave Dennis, Paddy Ryan tries; Bernard Foley 5 goals, Nick Phipps goal) d Southern Districts 19 (Rohan Saifoli 2, Ben Connolly tries; Rohan Saifoli 2 goals) at Sydney University No.1 Oval. (Sydney University to meet Eastwood in the Grand Final at Concord Oval from 3.10pm on Saturday, September 14.)
Second Grade: Sydney University 22 (Alex Rokobaro 2, James Dargaville tries; Byron Hodge 2 goals, pen goal) d Randwick 20 (Nathan Paila, Jack Tovey tries; Cayden Matehare 2 goals, 2 pen goals). (Sydney University to meet Eastwood in the Grand Final at Concord Oval from 12.50pm on Saturday, September 14.)
Third Grade: Sydney University 30 (Harry Marples, Ben Cannon, Levi Dodd, John Rudd tries; Jack Macklin 2 goals, 2 pen goals) d Eastern Suburbs 10 (Rohan Jones try, Warwick Percival goal, pen goal). (Sydney University to meet Eastwood in the Grand Final at Concord Oval from 10.50am on Saturday, September 14.)
Fourth Grade: Sydney University 27 (Anthony Pohlen, Ben Lenehan, Jack Marples, Jack Sullivan tries; Cameron Mason goal, David Fong goal, pen goal) d Randwick 8 (Elliott Rechtin try; Brock Davies pen goal). (Sydney University to meet Eastwood in the Grand Final at Concord Oval from 9.05am on Saturday, September 14.)
Colts – Grand Finals
First Grade: Sydney University 36 (Jim Stewart 2, Eveni Hunt, Matt Narracott, Jake Gordon, Harry Randell tries; S McDonald 3 goals) d Manly 35 (Alex Northam 3, Rory O’Connor tries; Ryan Squires 2 goals, 2 pen goals, Vinnie Baranyi goal, Reece Hodge pen goal) at Forshaw Rugby Park.
Second Grade: Sydney University 25 (Jack Redden, Ben Hughes, Tyne Holmes tries; Tianua Poto 2 goals, 2 pen goals) d Eastwood 12 (Conor O’Gorman, Tim Bartlett tries; Daniel De Santis goal).
Third Grade: Eastern Suburbs 21 (BJ Edwards, Charlie Drayton tries; Will Maddocks goal, 3 pen goals) d Sydney University 15 (Nick Burdon, Jack Ledger-Ryan tries; Chris O’Donnell goal, pen goal).
Sydney University’s Shute Shield and Tooheys Cup record since 1999
1999: Eastwood d Sydney University 34-17
2000: Randwick d Sydney University 36-30
2001: Sydney University d Eastwood 27-20
2002: Eastwood d Sydney University 19-15
2005: Warringah d Sydney University 29-23
Tooheys Cup: Sydney University d Eastwood 41-5
2006: Sydney University d Eastwood 17-10
Tooheys Cup: Sydney University d Randwick 16-10
2007: Sydney University d Eastern Suburbs 34-11
2008: Sydney University d Randwick 45-20
2009: Sydney University d Randwick 24-19
2010: Sydney University d Randwick 46-6
2011: Eastwood d Sydney University 19-16
2012: Sydney University d Southern Districts 15-14
2013: Sydney University v Eastwood