Shute Shield Review: Round 9

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By NSW Rugby Union


A dominant 60 minutes of rugby saw a strong Students outfit built up an unassailable lead over Randwick to secure their sixth win of the season and rise to second on the Shute Shield ladder. 
Trailing 26-6 at half time, the Wicks staged a strong comeback to finish the game 38-25, with the presence of Wallabies Kurtley Beale and Drew Mitchell helping to draw a strong crowd and pack out the grandstand at Oval No. 1.
Elsewhere, Manly’s loss to Southern Districts at Forshaw Park relegates them to fourth place.  Eastwood’s strong showing against the Rats at Pittwater Rugby Park has seen them maintain top spot and the Two Blues’ kicking skills were all that separated them from Penrith at Nepean Rugby Park.   The remaining two games in Round 9 will be played tomorrow and Saturday, June 8.
Sydney University v Randwick
The Students proved themselves a force to be reckoned with, dominating the Wicks throughout the first 60 minutes to cross the line six times and secure a comfortable 38 to 25 home victory.
The Wicks were slow to start, scoring only six points through a pair of first-half penalties. In contrast, the Students were strong in attack and defence, crossing the line for a try inside the first ten minutes thanks to a strong rolling maul. Their barging forward pack laid the platform for another three first-half tries, with the maul put to good use again later in the half.
In impressive form, Uni fullback and tryscorer Tom Kingston looked dangerous, finding a number of gaps in the Wicks defence, as did scrumhalf Jake Gordon, who crossed the line twice.
Randwick came back in the latter stages of the second half, crossing three times through prop Faitotoa Asa and flyhalf Cayden Matehaere, who grabbed a pair, but the Students’ lead never really looked threatened.
Complimenting the dominant performance of his pack, and in particular the rolling maul, Students’ captain Tim Davidson said after the match, “We identify things each week, as a forward pack we’d spoken about how we hadn’t really asserted ourselves in that area so it was definitely a goal this week. We wanted to get across the line once and it was fortunate for us it worked a couple of times there.”
Flying back early from Christchurch after coming on from the bench in the HSBC Waratahs’ gutsy performance against the Crusaders, Wicks’ replacement Drew Mitchell said he enjoyed his return to club rugby.  “There’s a lot of skill across the board there for the Wicks and the intent is really good in terms of the way they want to play.
“It’s always hard coming into those sorts of environments.  We were chasing the game and as is often the case when you’re chasing the game, you go away from your structures a little bit.  At the same time, the boys pulled it back pretty well.  I think they scored two or three tries off rolling mauls, so if we can try to eliminate that then there’s a really good platform to work from.”
Playing alongside his good friend Kurtley Beale, Mitchell added, "I think he got through that 80 pretty well, especially the way the Wicks play.  There's no kicking and very little down time. He was certainly at it for most of the time the ball was in play and he's got through unscathed.  He’s in good spirits.” 
Sydney University 38 (Tom Carter, Tim Davidson, Jake Gordon 2, Tom Kingston, James Willan tries; Byron Hodge 4 cons) d Randwick 25 (Faitotoa Asa, Cayden Matehaere 2 tries; Cayden Matehaere 2 cons, 2 pens). Referee Simon Moore.
Southern Districts v Manly
In a hard-fought arm wrestle played in harsh conditions, five penalties from flyhalf Rohan Saifoloi sealed a win for Southern Districts.  With both sides running in two tries,  it was Saifoloa’s accuracy that took the match for the Rebels, with the flyhalf converting five penalties to give Souths a 25 to 14 win and lift them above Manly to take second place on the ladder.
Southern Districts 25 (Alex Gibbon, Jed Holloway tries; Rohan Saifoloi 5 pens) d Manly 14 (Richard Hooper, Ryan Melrose tries; Marshall Milroy 2 cons) at Forshaw Rugby Park. Referee Matt O’Brien.
Warringah v Eastwood
Eastwood has bounced back from last week’s shock loss, running in seven tries to five in a show of all round strength.  The table-toppers showed their class, with slick backline moves and a strong forward pack. The Rats fought hard throughout the match, crossing the line five times to secure a bonus point, but the Woodies were just too good and won the match 44 to 33.
Eastwood 44 (Nick Batger, Michael McDougall, Hugh Perrett, Shanin Proctor, Nick Reily, Sione Tau 2 tries; Ben Batger 3 cons, pen) d Warringah 33 (Michael Adams, Ed Doyle, David Feltsheer, Conrad Gillingham, Joshua Holmes tries; Scott Bradley 4 cons). Referee Michael Hogan.
Penrith v Parramatta
The battle of the west didn’t disappoint, with Penrith and Parramatta each running in five tries in a neck and neck encounter that could have gone either way.  A hat trick from Penrith lock Sione Pusi Fifita helped keep the Emus in the chase in a fast-paced game that saw both sides fight hard for the upper hand.  In the end though, it was the kicking ability of Two Blues’ fullback Dan Rawaqa that secured a 35-25 win and ended the Emus’ hopes of bagging their first win of the season.
Parramatta 35 (Sosene Anesi, Troy Lobendahn, Tukia Muli, Dan Rawaqa, Mosese Tavola tries; Dan Rawaqa 2 cons 2 pens) d Penrith 25 (Sione Pusi Fifita 3, James Umu, Nigel Vaifale tries).  Referee Nathan Pearce.
In the remaining two matches of Round 9, Northern Suburbs will take on West Harbour on Sunday June 2 at Central Coast Blue Tongue Stadium (completing Round 9A), whilst Round 9B will see Gordon will play Eastern Suburbs at Woollhara Oval on Saturday June 8 to end the round.
SRU Premiership Competition » Shute Shield (1st Grade)
BP 4t
BP <7p
Southern Districts
Sydney University
West Harbour
Eastern Suburbs
Northern Suburbs
 P=Played   W=Wins   D=Draws   L=Losses   F=Points For   A=Points Against   Df=Points Difference   BP 4t=Four Tries   BP <7p=Close Losses   BP=Total Bonus Points   Pts=Ladder Points



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