Students bring home Australian Club Championship

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Sydney University retained the Australian Club Rugby Union Championship with a 19-14 win over Brisbane’s Easts Tigers in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Students took the lead early in the second half when winger James Dargaville scored their third try and held off a spirited Easts to claim back-to-back ACC titles, which are contested by the premier clubs in Sydney and Brisbane from the previous season.

Sydney University opened the match with a try in the fifth minute when they exerted pressure on the Easts pack in five-metre scrum engagement near the host’s line. When the ball popped out of the retreating Easts scrum, Sydney University flanker Tom Boidin was on hand to claim a five-pointer.

But the hosts hit back when University second-rower Liam Winton was off the field on a yellow-card holiday. Easts number eight Johnny Kalavata barged his way over after receiving a pop pass from second-rower Greg Riley.

And they rammed home the advantage through five-eighth Matt Brandon, who chipped ahead, pilfered the ball from University fullback Jack Macklin and sent centre EJ Fa’aofa over out wide.

But Sydney University levelled the score at 14-all late in the half when winger Sam English ran 40m to score.

The Students then established a 19-14 lead early in the second half when centre Chris Ingate delivered a great pass to Dargaville, who crossed in the corner.

Both sides squandered scoring chances as the clock ticked down and tempers flared, with Easts’ replacement backrower Manasa Rokosuka given a yellow card in the heat of battle.

It took some stout University defence in the closing minutes to secure the win, which was a much tougher affair than the 2013 result when Sydney University accounted for the University of Queensland 45-7. Sydney University have now won four Australian Club  Championships.

Sydney University 19 (Tom Boidin, Sam English, James Dargaville tries; Byron Hodge  2 con) d, Easts Tigers 14 (Johnny Kalavata, EJ Fa’aofa tries; Matt Brandon con) in Brisbane on Saturday. The ACC is contested by the premier Sydney and Brisbane clubs from the previous season.