Warringah took over the Shute Shield competition lead with their nail-biting 31-30 win over Sydney University at Pittwater Rugby Park on Saturday.
Sydney University five-eighth Dan Kelly had the chance to win the match in the dying seconds when the Students were awarded a penalty 40m out in front of the posts, but his attempt curled into the left upright and cruelly bounced away.
With the Rats scoring five tries to three, Kelly had kept the Students in contention with three conversions and three penalties from as many attempts.
Warringah remain undefeated after five rounds, while Sydney University’s second successive loss resulted in them moving to fourth on the ladder behind second-placed Manly and third-placed Eastwood.
The hosts scored three first-half tries to University’s one to hold a 21-13 margin at the break. They made their intentions clear in the third minute when the ball was moved wide to big winger Sireli Tagicakibau, who left defenders in his wake with an angled run to the line. Hamish Angus converted for a seven-nil lead.
Sydney University enjoyed possession and position from the restart and a Kelly penalty was followed with a converted try as the Students established a 10-7 lead. The try came off a nice offload from flanker James Nonu-Carling to centre James McMahon.
Aside from two more penalty goals from Kelly it was to be the last joy for the Students in the first half.
Working off a solid platform Warringah five-eighth Hamish Angus and fullback David Feltcheer exposed some defensive weaknesses in the University backs to run in fine individual tries for a handy lead at the break.
Warringah maintained their assault in the first 20 minutes of the second half to push their lead to 31-16 and earn a bonus point on the back of two fine tries. Tagicakibau bagged a second and outside centre Tui Tuisavali scored the other while Angus nudged over a conversion.
The Students’ fight-back started with a try from inside centre Tom Carter who carried defenders over the line to score. Minutes later his telling offload sent winger Henry Clunies-Ross on a long, weaving excursion to the line. With Kelly slotting everything off the kicking tee, the score was suddenly 31-30 with three coach-killing minutes to play.
The 39th minute was about to become the 40th when Sydney University were awarded a penalty in easy range. But fate played its hand and the hosts took the points in a gripping affair.
Round 6 will see Sydney University at home to eighth-placed Northern Suburbs, with First Grade to kick off at 3pm.
Sydney Men’s Premier Rugby Union competition – Round 5
First Grade – Shute Shield: Warringah 31 (Sireli Tagicakibau 2, Hamish Angus, Tui Tuisavali, David Feltcheer tries, Hamish Angus 3 goals) d Sydney University 30 (Henry Clunies-Ross, Tom Carter, James McMahon tries; Dan Kelly 3 goals, 3 pen goals) at Pittwater Rugby Park.
Second Grade – Colin Caird Shield: Sydney University 27 (Hugo Dessens 2, A Ryan, Sam English, Jack Sullivan tries; Jack Macklin goal) d Warringah 24 (Harry Jones 3, E Boroula tries; H Jones 3 goals).
Third Grade – Henderson Shield: Sydney University 34 (F Sailosi 2, Stewart Nutt, Oliver L’Estrange, Jason Hofmeyr, J Huff tries; David Fong, Jason Hofmyer goals) d Warringah 17 (K Gillingham, M Edwards, L Mulivi tries; J Smith goal).
Fourth Grade – Henderson Cup: Warringah 21 (W Casey, C Edmonton tries; J Forbes goal, 3 pen goals) d Sydney University 13 (David Pohlen try; Billy Macklin goal, 2 pen goals).
First Grade – W. McMahon Memorial Shield: Sydney University 66 (10 tries) d Warringah 12.
Second Grade – Shell Trophy: Sydney University 61 (9 tries) d Warringah 5.
Third Grade – Bill Simpson Shield: Sydney University 36 (6 tries) d Warringah 5.