Sydney University Lions toughed out a character-building 32-22 win over a physically imposing Cumberland Beavers in their Round 4 clash at Ollie Webb Reserve on Saturday.
With an undersized pack and a number of injuries through the game, the Lions dug deep to post an important win. After losing to defending premiers UTS Tigers in the first round, Sydney University have posted three wins on the trot in a confidence-boosting run.
Saturday’s match was the week of the forward battle with second-rowers Myles Fowler and Marcus Pappas imposing their will on the Beavers pack.
Fowler played another captain’s knock and deserved his Man of the Match awarded with some inspiring defensive hits on men twice his size.
Elite Athlete Scholar and applied science student Pappas, applied his science on the field to dissect the less mobile forwards of Cumberland with untouched hole-running and subtle, but simple footwork at the line to make a number of line breaks.
Sydney University welcomed the return of alumni Kurt Lewis. The frontrower has been sorely missed since suffering a foot injury early in the year.
Lewis’s toughness in the middle helped to match the size of the Beavers pack.
A number of Sydney University rookies showed big hearts, with Felix Dean stepping up in the middle and Christian Maini putting his hand up in a big way to relieve the pressure from the forwards. He made several runs against much bigger opponents which paid dividends in the second half.
The teams went to the break locked at 16-all after a see-sawing half.
However, Sydney University’s last two tries epitomised the team effort.
A Tom McCarthy offload put Christian Maini over the line to put the Lions in front and, minutes later, Chadwick Scholar Jake Vrahnos stepped off his left foot from 10m out, breached the defensive line and sent hard-running winger Coen Horwood over under the posts.
Lions coach Luke Srama was extremely proud of the boys in what was a gritty victory against a much bigger side. Sydney University will meet TAFE NSW Polecats at Kellyville Park this Saturday, May 20, with a 1.15pm start.
NSW Tertiary Cup competition – Round 4
Sydney University 32 (Tries: Marcus Pappas, Christian Maini, Coen-Lane Horwood, James Vanisi, Daniel Rowe, Myles Fowler. Goals: Coen-Lane Horwood, Max Linden-Smith, Adam Vrahnos, Tom McCarthy) defeated Cumberland Beavers 22.