Durable back Nathan Trist celebrated his 100th First Grade game with two of Sydney University’s five tries in their 38-15 win over Eastern Suburbs at a sodden Woollahra Oval on Saturday.
Trist has played most of his First Grade career at fullback but moved to the wing on Saturday to accommodate Alfie Mafi as custodian. Along with Trist and Mafi, other Super 15 players to return to the fray for the Students on Saturday were number eight Tim Davidson, centre Tom Carter and flanker Jono Jenkins.
The win saw the Sir Roden Cutler Shield return to the campus, where it has been housed for most of the past seven seasons, and lifted Sydney University to second on the ladder with two rounds to play before the competition is split into top and bottom halves.
Eastwood head the ladder on 38 points, with Sydney University (36), Southern Districts (36), Eastern Suburbs (32), Manly (32) and Parramatta (26) making up the top six.
And with Second Grade leading the Colin Caird Shield, Third Grade leading the Henderson Shield, Fourth Grade running second in the Henderson Cup and the three Colts teams leading their respective competitions, Sydney University extended their lead in the Club Championship.
Sydney University head the Club Championship on 1677 points, ahead of nearest rivals Eastwood (1359), Northern Suburbs (1188) and Eastern Suburbs (1185).
After an intense opening between the forward packs in driving rain on Saturday, Sydney University opened the scoring through skipper Matt Schwager, who sniped off the back of a ruck to score. Five-eighth Dan Kelly converted for a seven-nil lead.
Easts responded midway through the half to take an 8-7 lead with a tough penalty goal from five-eighth Angus Sinclair, who also converted a try from halfback Luke Irwin.
But Kelly gave the Students a 14-8 lead at the break when he jinked through the defence to score under the posts and added the conversion.
Trist extended the margin to 21-8 soon after the break when he pounced on a loose ball and slid over in the corner, necessitating Kelly to land a conversion from sideline.
Easts skipper, number eight Pauli Taumoepeau – a former Sydney University player – headed the host’s comeback with a try off a dominant five-metre scrum. Sinclair missed the conversion but added a penalty goal soon after for a 21-15 margin.
But the Students handled the wet conditions well to score three late tries through Mafi, Carter – off the back of a rolling maul – and Trist, who added the conversion, for a dominant win.
The Students take on Eastwood in a top-of-the-table encounter at Sydney University No.1 Oval on Saturday, where a win would put them on top of the ladder. They then travel to Merrylands RSL Rugby Park to meet Parramatta in Round 11 before the second phase of the competition begins.
Sydney Grade competition – Round 9
First Grade – Schute Shield: Sydney University 38 (Nathan Trist 2, Matt Schwager, Dan Kelly, Tom Carter, Alfi Mafi tries; Dan Kelly 3 goals, Nathan Trist goal) d Eastern Suburbs 15 (Pauliasi Taumoepeau, Luke Irwin tries; Angus Sinclair goal, pen goal) at Woollhara Oval.
Second Grade – Colin Caird Shield (Sydney University 11 (Wilie du Plessis try; David Fong 2 pen goals) drew with Eastern Suburbs 11 (Elijah Niko try; Henry Hudson 2 pen goals).
Third Grade – Henderson Shield: Sydney University 22 (Cam Lawrence, Hugh Frazer tries; Jack Macklin 4 pen goals) d Eastern Suburbs 5 (Bassanio Fonua try).
Fourth Grade – Henderson Cup: Sydney University 13 (Hola Tonga, C Boyce tries; C Holmes pen goal) drew with Eastern Suburbs 13 (Hugh Brownhill try; Richard Windle goal, 2 pen goals).
First Grade: Sydney University 32 (5 tries) d Eastern Suburbs 0 at Sydney University.
Second Grade: 29 (4 tries) d Eastern Suburbs 0.
Third Grade: Sydney University 21 d Eastern Suburbs 0.