Sydney University women’s rugby team maintained their unbeaten run with two tough wins in the four days against the second- and third-placed teams in the Sydney premiership.
On Wednesday, University faced Parramatta in a floodlit, catch-up night game that tested the patience and self-belief of the Students.
Under attack from a Parramatta team boasting three Wallaroos, University’s defence was under heavy fire and they relied on the speed of flankers Fi Jones and Barbara Waddell to the rucks, where their work was crucial against the larger Parramatta pack.
Both converts from the backline, their fitness prevailed as Parramatta struggled to keep up with the wide attack and sheer number of phases in the University attack.
With minutes to go University’s persistence paid off when the electrifying Iliseva Batibasanga crossed for a try to help the Students to the narrowest of wins.
Backing up on Saturday, University were back at their spiritual home, St Johns Ooval, facing an in-form Rockdale team.
It was never going to be easy after the tough Wednesday night encounter, and Rockdale used their size to add to the University girls already mounting bruise count.
The visitors came out firing and scored an early try, but University turned the tables soon after pressuring in Rockdale’s quarter. Lope Leiataua kicked a penalty goal and soon after powered over the line to give University the lead.
With Tuaine Inamata returning to the frontrow, University dominated the scrum while in open play she showed her soft touch, producing some deft passes to create space for the backs.
Kiri Bennett constantly troubled her opposite number throughout the game, fearlessly running the ball up the centres, and Fary Hayati accelerated through the smallest of gaps in the crowded Rockdale ruck defence to score.
The Students were up by 15 points at half time, but that margin was reduced to five by full-time. University tired as the half wore on and Rockdale took advantage with strong running from their rugby league converts. Again it was University’s scrambling defence that protected the win.
With three games left until the finals, University are looking to tighten up their structure and their lineouts to continue their winning streak in their quest for the title.