We witnessed another enthralling round of Rugby in the John I Dent Cup with all three games going right down to the wire.
Wests 24 def by Uni-Norths Owls 25
A thrilling Jordan Thompson penalty goal in the dying seconds of the match has seen the Uni-Norths Owls clinch a stunning 25-24 victory over the Western Districts Lions at Jamison Oval.
Thompson’s penalty came when it looked all over for the Owls, after Lachlan Osbourne was shown a yellow card two minutes before fulltime for what was judged a high tackle by the officials.
Wests capitalised straight after with Mathew Logsdon scoring off the back of a perfectly executed scrum by the home side.
But faith was on the Owls’ side, as they won a penalty on the resumption of play, with Thompson slotting it over perfectly from 40 metres out to steal the win and end Wests’ streak of victories.
Owls head coach Sam Rolfe said post-match he had full faith in Thompson to nail the shot.
“He [Thompson] strikes the ball arguably the best in the competition,” said Rolfe.
“It was just whether he was going to hit it straight or not, the distance was never going to be a problem.”
Despite the win, Rolfe stated his side need to build heavily on today’s performance if they are to defeat the Canberra Royals next week who have recently found form, with three wins on the trot.
“We play like that next week, we lose to Royals,” he said.
“They are a clinical team; they beat the Vikings today. We have got to step up another notch and get our attacking systems going again.”
Despite the loss, it was Wests who got the ball rolling and held all the territory in the opening minutes of play.
This resulted in prop Tauati Chan Tung barging over for the opening try eight minutes in for the Lions. Declan Meredith added the extras.
Having conceded early, the Owls made it clear they weren’t going to be dictated easily and relentlessly tested the Lions defence for the next few minutes of play.
Despite some strong efforts on their line, Wests were eventually broken down as Owls hooker Samuel Thomas crawled over in the 16th minute.
Just before the break, Owls took the lead for the first time in the match after lock William Sankey crossed over. Thompson converted, taking the score to 12-7.
But on the resumption of play, Wests were given an opportunity and didn’t need a second invitation, as BJ Sione barged through with pure strength. Meredith converted, giving Wests a 14-12 lead at the interval.
Owls were next on the score sheet on the resumption of play, as Thomas crossed for his brace in the 52nd minute.
Wests won a vital penalty afterwards and Meredith made no mistakes to lock the scores at 17-all with 13 minutes to play.
The penalty was followed by Ignacio Bonsembiante scoring for the Owls, Osbourne’s send off, Logsdon scoring for Wests and Thompson winning it at the death in chaotic fashion. Which ensures the Owls remain top of the table.
Words: Daniel Heinrich
Royals 29 def Vikings 27
A late try has helped the Canberra Royals to a come from behind win over the Tuggeranong Vikings, continuing their red-hot run of form having won the last three matches.
Vikings started the stronger of the two sides with solid attacking pressure deep into Royals territory but struggled to break down a strong defensive line.
The Blue Baggers created their own chances early on as well but also struggled in breaking a strong defensive line. Despite the tense opening, Royals would score first through a penalty. After an infringement from Callum Smith in the ruck, star scrum-half Pedro Rolando stepped up, converting the kick from 40 out.
This wouldn’t deter Vikings however, as they quickly hit back through Seamus Smith. Strong ball movement off the back of a scrum saw the side right on the Royals try line, the scrum-half diving over from close range.
Academy star Isaac Henry continued his fine form by adding the extras, giving Vikings a 7-3 lead. They began to take control from this point and would extend their lead only a few minutes later through Thomas Hooper.
A cut out pass from Callum Smith found his fellow second rower out wide, Hooper crossing over with ease. Henry again added the extras, taking the score to 14-3.
Royals turned up the pressure in the shadows of half time and despite their best efforts, Vikings couldn’t keep them out as Will Morrison barged his way through to score. Rolando couldn’t add the extras, pushing his kick wide.
Vikings started strong in the second as they put pressure back onto the Royals defensive line and forced an error out of them early on. Henry would step up to convert the penalty, making the score 17-8.
It didn’t take Royals too long to hit back, as fullback Lincoln Smith slipped through a gap in the defence dive over for his first of the afternoon. Rolando would add the extras to reduce the deficit to two points.
The action packed start to the second half continued as an infringement in the ruck from the Royals saw Henry continue his perfect kicking and push the score back out to five points.
After a sustained period of tense pressure from both sides, a moment of quick thinking from Rolando proved fruitful as the scrum-half’s quick tap set up Jamie Bodman to score. Rolando converted from the sideline to give Royals the lead for the first time at 22-20.
As had been the case most of the game, things quickly changed as Michael Oakman-Hunt ran through to score, assisted by a flick pass from Maika Ravouvou. Henry added the extras to give Vikings a seven point lead with under 15 minutes to go.
With Vikings looking likely to close out the win, Royals had other ideas as Smith grabbed his second of the match. Bryce Keane delivered a soft pass right into the hands of Smith and the fullback burst through to score. With scores level, it fell on the shoulders of Rolando and the Argentinian made no mistake calmly slotting the conversion.
There wasn’t enough time for the Vikings to hit back, Royals running out 29-27 winners at Phillip Oval.
Words: Declan Smith