Australian Club Championship - SUFC vs UQ

Morgans is a sponsor of Sydney University Football Club (SUFC) and University of Queensland Rugby Club so our allegience was divided when the two teams played each other in the Australian Club Championship on 24 March 2013. SUFC was the victor. The match report is below.

Sydney University Rugby Club March 2013

By Sideline Eye

The Sydney University "Students" have kicked off their 2013 campaign in impressive fashion, taking out their third Australian Club Championship with a comprehensive 43 to 7 victory over the University of Queensland (UQ).

In hot and humid conditions at Allianz Stadium, it was refreshing to see club rugby being played at a world class stadium, this time as a curtain raiser to the NSW Waratahs and Auckland Blues Super Rugby match.

With talk in the off season of various models being considered by newly appointed ARU CEO Bill Pulver and his team to revamp club rugby, any model which sees the best of Sydney taking on the best of Brisbane has merit. Australian Club Championship contests tend to wet the appetite for a national competition.

"We have for some years now believed that a national club competition would add considerable value to Australia’s rugby calendar. Elite club competitions are critical to the future of the game in Australia", said SUFC president David Mortimer AO.

Leading into the latest Australian Club Championship match, Sydney University Head Coach Chris Malone had been pleased with the early season trial form of the Students.

"We have been able to play some testing trial games against the Tuggeranong Vikings and Randwick, but the Australian Club Championship match has been our biggest test so far for the pre-season," said Malone.

Sydney University were off to a flyer and by the time drinks were called at the first quarter mark, had posted 3 tries. Two of these were to Melbourne Rebels recruit Trent Dyer, who looked eager for some quality game time. Hard and tough as nails, he would be impressive all game.

The Students were missing regular first graders David Hickey, Dan Kelly, Greg Jeloudev, James McMahon and new to the Students, Fetuli Talanoa. Levi Dodd showed his skills on the wing early in the game to get himself on the scoreboard, touching down for a try within the first 5 minutes at the Paddington end corner of the ground. However, was replaced in the first half with mild concussion.

Up 17 to nil at the main break, Sydney University were dominating. Their half-time lead was set up by a dominant forward display, strong scrum, which repeatedly had UQ on the back foot, effective line-out and a backline which, when opportunities arose, looked sharp, quick and one possessing an array of attacking options. This dominance would continue in the second stanza.

Four tries over the first 20 minutes of the second-half pushed the score out to 43 to nil. Each try was impressive for either team flair or individual brilliance. Australian Under 20s World Cup representative Jock Merriman was in the thick of the action.

Called into the game due to an early injury to flyhalf Stuart Dunbar, Merriman showed composure beyond his years and looked dangerous all match. His try in the 47th minute off a nice inside pass from lock Ollie Atkins was a well deserved reward for his efforts.

"We have some promising players moving up to Grade this year, after a number of successful years in our Colts program", said Malone. One such player appears to be scrum-half Jake Gordon, whose bust for a scrum win 40 metres out saw a flying Nathan Trist touch down beside the post.

Having played over 100 first grade games now for Sydney University, Trist is the consummate professional, able to comfortably slot in at either fullback or wing and play with distinction. A valuable asset for Head Coach Malone.

2012 Colts players Tolu Latu and inside centre or winger James Dargaville also showed glimpse of their future potential, with Latu scoring off a quick tap from a penalty 15 metres out, stepping the last line of defence and barging over. From the re-start, Michael Hodge finished off an entertaining backline move after Dargaville was able to find space on the right hand flank.

The 7 tries to 1 win (UQ crossed for a consolation try to fullback Jamie Tualagi) enabled Sydney University to reclaim the Australian Club Championship title, last won by the Club in 2007.

The two universities last met for the Australian crown at the start of the 2011 season after they had won their respective 2010 competitions. The University of Queensland triumphed at Ballymore on that occasion, winning 42-26. The Sydneysiders would have been pleased to be able to turn the tables this time around.

For the Students, returning lock Liam Winton (pictured) made his presence felt from the front, with the likes of Atkins, Tom Carter, Trist and Jeremy Tilse providing valuable leadership and maturity to a vastly young team.

"It’s a huge honour to be crowned Australian Club Champions", said Malone. "Our attention now turns to the rest of our 2013 campaign".

Sydney University take on Parramatta in Round 1 of the Shute Shield competition which kicks off on Saturday 6 April 2013.

Sydney University 43 (Trent Dyer 2, Levi Dodd, Jock Merriman, Nathan Trist, Tolu Latu, Michael Hodge tries; David Fong 3 cons, Nathan Trist con) d University of Queensland 7 (Jamie Tualagi try; con).

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