It rained tries in the sunshine at North Sydney Oval, with the Sydney Rays enjoying a high-scoring 50-30 win over the Western Sydney Rams in their first home game of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship.
The Rays got out to the best possible start, scoring three converted tries in the opening 14 minutes of play, and before the Rams had any real possession to speak of.
Former Waratahs hooker Damien Fitzpatrick scored the second of the three from the back of a maul, showing that he’s lost none of his skills since returning from Europe.
When the Rams did finally enjoy some ball in the opening quarter of the game, it was the flowing locks of hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa who opened their account, and he was over again ten minutes later off the back of a Rams maul.
Rams skipper Paul Asquith cleverly added the extras with a drop kick, after the ball fell off the tee with time quickly running out.
The Rays then hit back with two more tries themselves, including a runaway effort from Waratahs flanker Jack Dempsey.
They headed to the sheds with a 38-14 lead, and after the two Saturday games only ten tries between them, the first 40 minutes at North Sydney Oval had already seen seven.
Dempsey copped a yellow card for a lifting tackle just after the break and the Rams capitalised, with lock Fili Tufui crashing over next to the posts to narrow the Rays’ lead to 16.
Rams replacement Mitch Walton showed some wonderful hands to crash over soon after, only for referee Will Houston to rule an obstruction.
The Rams didn’t have to wait long to atone though, with flanker Rhys Allen scoring on the hour, off the back of a completely dominant scrum pushover.
Asquith’s conversion made it an eight-point ballgame.
Former Rams scrumhalf Dewet Roos scored on his Rays debut, only seconds after replacing Matt Lucas, but a second yellow card offence meant Dempsey was shown a red with just six minutes left to play.
The Rays held their nerve though, maintaining possession and territory for final period, before unleashing Richard Woolf down the right flank for his second try and a vital bonus point for the home side.
SYDNEY RAYS 50
Tries: R.Woolf 2, D.Fitzpatrick, H.Jones, J.Dempsey, I.Simone, D.Roos
Cons: A.Sinclair 4/7.
WESTERN SYDNEY RAMS 30
Tries: B.Paenga-Amosa 2, F.Tufui, R.Allen.
Cons: P.Asquith 3/3, A.Nikoro.