Sydney University’s nemesis of the past two seasons, Southern Districts, struck again on Sunday when they accounted for the Students 28-26 in a Shute Shield qualifying final at Forshaw Rugby Park.
The hosts scored three tries to two to move into a major semi-final clash with Warringah, while Sydney University will meet Manly in a minor semi-final sudden death encounter at Manly Oval.
Wingers Alex Gibbon (two) and Faleula Finau crossed for Southern Districts’ tries, with five-eighth Jordan McGregor landing two conversions and three penalty goals to steer his side home.
Number eight Pat McCutcheon and outside-centre Jim Stewart posted five-pointers for the Students, while five-eighth Angus Roberts kept them in the hunt with two conversions and four penalty goals.
Warringah and Randwick dropped out of the Shute Shield running after the weekend’s qualifying finals, with Eastwood defeating the Rats 23-10 at T.G. Millner Field and Manly accounting for the Wicks 33-21 at Manly Oval.
Sydney University teams are still alive in all grades and the Colts competitions despite several losses in the grades at the weekend.
Second Grade lost 40-12 to Randwick, but having finished second in the competition proper, live to play in a sudden death minor semi-final.
Third Grade stayed alive with a 29-21 win over Randwick, and Fourth Grade, the minor premiers, stayed alive despite losing 27-24 to Southern Districts.
Sydney University also wrapped up the three Colts qualifying finals, with a 45-36 result over Gordon in First Grade, a 25-5 win over Eastern Suburbs in Second Grade, and a 45-5 win over Northern Suburbs in Third Grade.
NSW Men’s Premier Rugby Union competition – Preliminary Finals
First Grade – Shute Shield: Southern Districts 28 (Alex Gibbon 2, Faleula Finau tries; Jordan McGregor 2 goals, 3 pen goals) d Sydney University 26 (Pat McCutcheon, Jim Stewart tries; Angus Roberts 2 goals, 4 pen goals) at Forshaw Rugby Park on Sunday.
Second Grade – Colin Caird Shield: Randwick 40 d Sydney University 12 (Pen try, Chris Chapman try; Jack Macklin goal) at Forshaw Rugby Park on Sunday.
Third Grade – J.R. Henderson Shield: Sydney University 29 d Randwick 21 at Manly Oval on Saturday.
Fourth Grade – J.R. Henderson Cup: South Districts 27 d Sydney University 24 at Manly Oval on Saturday.
First Grade – W. McMahon Memorial Shield: Sydney University 45 d Gordon 36 at Forshaw Rugby Park on Saturday.
Second Grade – Shell Trophy: Sydney University 25 d Eastern Suburbs 5 at Forshaw Rugby Park on Saturday.
Third Grade: Bill Simpson Shield: Sydney University 45 d Northern Suburbs 5 at Forshaw Rugby Park on Saturday.