Sydney University 1st Grade relied on a dominant scrum to edge out Randwick 31-29 in a Shute Shield Qualifying Final thriller at Sydney University Football Ground on Saturday.
Both sides scored three tries apiece in a see-sawing first half that saw the visitors go to the break with a 19-17 advantage.
James Hendren, Dylan Dowling and Dan O’Brien scored for the Galloping Greens with Ben Donaldson landing two conversions, while skipper and flanker Jack McCalman, hooker Ciaran Loh second-rower Zav Von Appen crossed for the Students with winger Will Goddard converting one.
A dominant scrum early in the second half resulted in flanker Rohan O’Regan scoring, with Goddard adding the extras for a 24-19 lead.
But Randwick hit back midway through the half with skipper Ben Houston levelling the scores with a try.
The students once again hit back through the scrum. Playing against a seven-man Randwick pack, they earned a penalty try to take a 31-24 lead.
Randwick fought back and with five minutes remaining on the clock right winger James Hendren made an intercept and took the play deep into university territory. A quick ruck clean-out saw the Greens shift the ball across the park for left-winger Christian Yassmin to score in the corner. Donaldson missed the crucial sideline conversion and the Students held on for a tight win – and a week off before the preliminary final. The Wicks will host Gordon in a play-off final at Coogee Oval on Sunday.
In other Shute Shield Qualifying Final results Gordon defeated Warringah 36-20, Eastwood downed Eastern Suburbs 36-23 and Northern Suburbs accounted for Manly 34-27.
Manly will now meet Eastwood at North Sydney at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, while Warringah will face Randwick at Coogee Oval on Sunday.
Sydney University remain alive in the three lower grades, three Colts grades and the premier women’s competition for the Jack Scott Cup.
Second Grade rattled Northern Suburbs 66-12; Thirds downed Manly 28-21 and Fourths defeated Eastern Suburbs 27-14.
In the Colts ranks Sydney University First lost 21-17 to Randwick, bit live to fight another week thanks to finishing with the minor premiership; Seconds defeated Warringah 32-10, and Thirds accounted for Warringah 27-nil.
Sydney University’s Women’s side moved through to a season decider with a 15-10 semi-final win over Hunter Wildfires at Sydney University Football Ground No.2 on Saturday.
For those coming in late, the 2022 Shute Shield reverted to an eight-team final series for First and Second Grades and First Grade Colts this season, with the Qualifying Finals played on Saturday.
The Semi-Finals will be played on 20 August, Preliminary Finals on 27 August and the Grand Final at Leichhardt Oval on 3 September.
The remaining Grade and Colts competitions will retain six-team finals series, with Grand Finals to be held on 27 August.