NRC: Stars too strong for Spirit

by Rugby Australia

The Perth Spirit have gone down to the Sydney Stars 45 – 24 in Round 3 of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship at Leichhardt Oval this afternoon.

The Spirit showed glimpses of brilliance throughout the match, with some of the best tries of the competition so far. The Perth based team scored two tries to the Stars one in the first half and lead the Sydney Stars into the sheds with a 16 – 13 lead.

The second half started with early tries to both sides with both teams looking dangerous, but the Stars were two strong, scoring another three tries to the Spirits none, taking home the points with a 45 – 24 win. 

Spirit Head Coach Tai McIsaac, was once again disappointed with his side’s skill errors, but thought his team put in a solid performance.

“I was really happy with the brand of rugby we played in the first half, we were assertive, but still could have probably come away with a bigger lead,” he said.

“The Stars are a strong outfit and play a really good brand of footy, and we gave them too much time and space and that really hurt us in the second half.”

“We definitely didn’t make the most of our opportunities and spoiled a few more chances, but the good thing is we’re making those chances, we just need to finish them off from now on.”

The Spirit dominated early with strong line speed and some great offload play, which lead to Onehuna Havili steaming down the right wing, flicking back inside to Kyle Godwin who was brought to ground, he then popped back up to Al Rovira who dived over for the first points of the game. Ian Prior slotted the conversion from the sideline to give the Spirit an 8 – 0 lead.

The Stars hit back with a strong set of phases and John Hale pushed over from close range to give the Stars their first five pointer.

The Spirit then rallied to score another cracking try, this time down the left wing with an early linebreak from Richard Hardwick, the ball worked beautifully back to the outside where fullback Albert Nikoro finished it off. Ian Prior once again struck it beautifully to give the Spirit a 16 – 5 lead.

Anaru Rangi was sent to the sin bin for repeat infringements and the Stars made the most of their opportunities scoring off the back of a strong rolling maul, sending their captain David Hickey over for his first try. Angus Roberts made the conversion to bring the score back to 13 – 16 at half time.

The home side shot out of the blocks early in the second half and scored in the 42nd minute with veteran Tom Carter slicing through the Spirit defence to give hid side the lead for the first time in the game. Roberts converted the try and extended the Stars lead to 21 – 16.

The Spirit struck back with big prop Oliver Hoskins going on a barnstorming run, beating several defenders, he offloaded to young gun Nick Jooste who put on the afterburners and jetted his way over the line and regained the lead for his side. Ian Prior converted to take the score to 21- 24.

From then on it was all Stars. The Spirit were another man down again, with Albert Nikoro sent of for cynical play and the Stars hit back with Tom Kingston crashing over. Roberts had no problem with the conversion and the Stars regained the lead 29 – 24.

The Spirit fought hard, but the Stars had their measure and after a slick linebreak from Matt Phillip it wasn’t long before Jake Gordon made his way over the paint and extended the Stars lead. Roberts wasn’t missing from in front and put his side up 37 – 24.

The Stars weren’t finished there, with big man Matt Phillip barging his way over in red time and scoring his first try of the match. The conversion was made and the final whistle blown, Sydney Stars were too strong with a 45 – 24 win.