Having accounted for Manly on their home ground two weeks ago, Sydney University ventured further into the peninsula on Saturday to account for Warringah 22-19 in a torrid encounter at Pittwater Rugby Park.
The Students trailed 12-7 after an evenly-fought first half and were down 19-7 three minutes after the break before surging in the closing half hour to post two more tries and take the points on the back of a Chris Kagiassis penalty goal with five minutes on the clock.
The first half was a torrid battle with University running with a strong wind at their backs. And they used it to hold sway for the first 20 minutes, while Warringah had territorial advantage for the latter stages of the half.
The scrums were a craftman’s delight. Halfbacks could have rested a cup of tea on both packs for most of the engagements, with honours shared.
In the open, both packs went at it with intent, no quarter given, none asked for and backline defences generally held firm.
Sustained pressure from the Students finally resulted in points in the 20th minute when solid defence forced Warringah back over their own line. A penalty to the students from the resulting scrum saw halfback Jake Gordon take a quick tap and dart over. The youngster has improved with each game behind a solid pack and his passing was crisp throughout.
Fullback Kagiassis, up from the Colts, added the extras for a 7-nil lead which was shortlived when the hosts hit back from the restart. A penalty took play into the University quarter and blindside flanker Pierce Howell scored on the back of a well-executed drive off the lineout. Five-eighth Hamish Angus landed the conversion from the sideline to level the scores.
The Students let a try go begging soon after the restart when a counter-attack saw Kagiassis in space with a two-man overlap, only for his pass to go astray. Put it down to wet conditions.
The hosts extended the lead to 12-7 in the shadows of half-time on the back of a well-executed, 40m rolling maul that took play to the University line. From the resulting five-metre scrum, the University push forced Warringah halfback Josh Holmes to attack down the blindside and it resulted in points with winger Jamie Forbes scoring in the corner.
The hosts extended their lead to 19-7 soon after the resumption when winger Max Jones intercepted a pass from Gordon to winger James Kane to run 40m and score in the corner. Angus again converted from the sideline.
From the on it was all about the University resurgence. They controlled possession and field position to eventually wrest control of proceedings, with some strong surges from centres Tom Carter and Jim Stewart keeping Warringah on the backfoot.
It was a Stewart surge that led to Kane scoring in the corner off a Carter pass. Kagiassis landed the conversion into the wind.