Souths shock Eastwood to progress to semis

Aug 5 • Australia, General News • 1558 Views • Comments Off on Souths shock Eastwood to progress to semis

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The 2014 Magners Shute Shield Semi-Final line ups have now been confirmed, with Manly, Sydney University, Southern Districts and Eastwood through to the second week of finals action. Top seed Manly’s dominant win over Randwick on Saturday sees them line up against Eastwood, after the Woodies’ shock defeat at the hands of Southern Districts today sees them secure the fourth Semi-Final berth as the highest-seeded losing team. Defending champion Sydney University’s closely-fought win over Warringah sees them contest the other semi against surprise package Southern Districts.

Both Semi-Finals will take place next weekend, with the dates and venues yet to be confirmed.

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Saturday August 2

Sydney University 26 – 23 Warringah, Pittwater Rugby Park

A late Students try, courtesy of diminutive scrumhalf Jock Merriman, saw the reigning Premiers snatch victory from the Rats on Saturday. Warringah got off to an early lead when Hamish Angus slotted a penalty goal, and there was more bad news for the Student, when fullback Angus Roberts was forced from the field with a dislocated ankle. Undeterred, his teammate James Dargaville crossed in the corner to put the Students ahead 5-3, before two further Angus penalties punished the Students’ ill-discipline and left them trailing 9-5. Warringah winger Brad Dixon produced some more magic, running the length of the field to score in the corner, before Jake Gordon snuck through for the Students to take the half-time score to 16-10 to the Rats.

Student Jack Macklin got things kicking in the second half, slotting two penalties to level the score at 16-all before Uni’s Sam Talakai was sinbinned for a professional foul. Warringah captain Luke Holmes made Uni pay when his side mauled their way to the line to cross, but Macklin kicked a penalty to keep his side within reach, at 23-19 with 10 minutes remaining. In a tense finish, Uni pressured the Rats line and despite some resolute home defence, experienced Students scrumhalf Jock Merriman threw the dummy of a lifetime to score under the posts and give his side the win.

It was a very gutsy win by the boys,” said Merriman after the game. “We were behind for most of the game but we pulled together and got through in the end. It really holds us in good stead for next week. Bring it on!”

Sydney University 26 (Jock Merriman, James Dargaville, Jake Gordon tries; Jack Macklin con, 3 pens) d Warringah 23 (Luke Holmes, Brad Dixon tries; Hamish Angus 2 cons, 3 pens) at Pittwater Rugby Oval.

Manly 42 – 5 Randwick, Manly Oval

The minor premiers put on a dominant display in difficult conditions at Manly Oval. With the wind making kicking almost impossible, the Marlins’ performance was full of forward power and backs flair in equal measure and they go into the semi-finals looking extremely confident. The Marlins were first to cross, with Kasye Greer collecting a Mark Swanepoel pass to score. Greer quickly added a second from a Dan Chisolm break, giving his side some breathing room. It took the TMO to award Manly’s captain Ed Gower his team’s third try, before Greg Peterson added a fourth from a rolling maul.

Randwick finally got on the board, through a wide shift to Josh Eden Whaitiri, only for further Manly tries though Brian Sefanaia and Dane Chisholm to end hopes of a Wicks’ comeback. Two further tries from Peterson completed his hat trick and sealed the Marlins’ advancement to next weekend.

Manly’s Harry Bergelin issued a triumphant statement after his side’s impressive performance. “The boys really gave it their all, we knew it was important to start well and I think we did that. We are the real deal this year and want to finish off a wonderful season on a high.”

Manly 42 (Greg Peterson 3, Kayse Greer 2, Ed Gower, Brian Sefenaia, Dane Chisholm tries; Dane Chisholm con) d Randwick 5 (Josh Eden-Whitari try) at Manly Oval.

Sunday, August 3

Southern Districts 38 – 36 Eastwood, T.G Milner Oval

After leading for much of the match, the Rebels overcame a late Wicks’ fightback, sealing a surprise win with the calm boot of Ben Volavola.

The Rebels were the first to get on the scoreboard, courtesy of some great work from scrumhalf Chris O’Reilly in diving over close to the ruck, before a Volavola penalty goal gave his side a 10-0 lead. Eastwood scrumhalf Mick Snowden started his side’s scoring when he crossed in very much the same way as his counterpart. Shortly after, Souths’ centre Paul Asquith pounced on a loose pass to run the length of the field and score, taking his side to a 15-7 lead. A penalty goal apiece kept the scoreboard ticking over before Rebel Jed Holloway streaked through a gap to run 40 metres on his way to the tryline. A Jai Ayoub chip kick on the stroke of half-time laid on the platform for Eastwood winger John Grant to score and bring up a half-time score of 25-17 in the Rebels’ favour.

Volavola extended that advantage in the second period with a second penalty goal but Pat Sio replied instantly with a close range try. Not long after, Ayoub hit back, showcasing his elite footwork to weave his way to the line and give the Woodies the lead for the first time in the match. With the score at 31-28 in the Woodies’ favour, Jarred Barry put them further ahead 36-21 when he steamrolled his way to the line, from a rolling maul off a lineout to extend his side’s lead.

Inside centre Apo Latunipulu stepped his way to the line shortly after, putting the Rebels within a point and setting the stage for a nailbiting final five minutes. Working the ball up the field form the kickoff, the Rebels were awarded a ruck penalty 30 metres out. The class of Waratah and Rebel Ben Volavola shined when it mattered most as he lined up to take a penalty shot at goal to win. The ball could not have come off his boot sweeter and the Rebels snuck home to grab the win 38-36.

Paul Asquith could not wipe the smile off his face, after his side held on to advance into the Semi-Finals. “I’m so happy we were able to sneak home there at the end, it really shows the commitment we have towards each other and the never say die attitude.”

Southern Districts 38 (Jed Holloway, Chris O’Reilly, Apo Latunipulu, Paul Asquith tries; Ben Volavola 3 cons, 4 pens) d Eastwood 36 (Jarred Barry, Pat Sio, Mick Snowden, John Grant, Jai Ayoub tries; Tom Hill 3 cons, Ben Batger con, pen) at T.G Milner Oval.

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