On a wet and boggy pitch a Southerners team full of old and new faces overwhelmed Srinakarin University to win 21 – 0 in match of two very different halves.
From the kick off both sides showed their intent, throwing themselves into tackles and mauls. The Southerners forwards used the extra size and power to put heavy pressure on Srinakarin in both scrums and line outs, stealing balls against the head in both. Brian and Ting lifted Toby well in the first half to guarantee front ball. Belly’s throwing was its usual precise weapon and Srinakarin were always punished for infringing at the rucks by the strong boot of Jack. The first break through came 10 minutes in when the sure foot of Jack put us deep into the Srinakarin 22. Excellent driving and mauling from Gearstick and Paul saw us push even nearer the line. The ball was then released into the backs where David Church created a solid platform to shift quick ball back to fly half Sparky whose miss pass placed Toby (who was lingering in the backline) straight into space to go over the line in the corner. Jack then slotted the difficult conversion to push The Southerners further ahead.
The next 10 minutes saw The Southerners continue their dominance up front with Srinakarin unable to move past the half way line. We once again moved our position deep up into the opposition 22 where another solid line out and maul created the momentum for the ball to be moved into the hands of Sparky who dummied the Srinakarin back line and slipped through to dive in under the posts. At 14 – 0 up The Southerners then turned the screws with great running from Richie and Sod to force Srinakarin well back into their 22. Belly then took his chance (being unable/unwilling to pass the ball) and powered towards the line taking two defenders with him to stretch out and place the ball down for the third.
At half time Srinakarin heads were down and The Southerners spirits up lifted, the pitch however was becoming increasingly muddy and difficult to run on. Srinakarin used this to raise their game and only strong defence from The Southerners stopped them from making an impact on the score board. Excellent tackling from James Blunt(Will) at centre forced Srinakarin backwards and the safe hands of Kirk at full back ensured any kicked ball was quickly tidied up and capitalised on(which ensured an earlier girly kick that he sliced off his orange boots was forgiven). Calum and Glovebox ran at Srinakarin strongly and often combined well to move The Southerners back up the pitch. In ever decreasing conditions neither side was able to make any decisive breakthroughs, even with the forwards still turning over ball in the scrums with great power from Nick and James. When the referee finally blew his whistle for final time the half ended in a stale mate. But, the hard work put in by the Southerners forwards in the first half and solid Southerners back line in the second ensured another victory for the team to push them further up the TRU table.
Special mention must go to Bob’s managment style, which initally focused on the detailed planning of substitutions and inclusive rugby ‘making sure everyone got a game’ but then 10 minutes in switched up to subbing a frontrow for ‘lack of discipline’. It’s hard love at the Southerners baby, hard love….
Tobias “Sedative” Eveleigh