2012 Shute Shield: Sydney University crowned premiers
Shute Shield Grand Final was won by the Students (Image supplied)
Sydney University have taken out the 2012 Shute Shield title after defeating Southern Districts in a 15-14 thriller at Concord Oval.
The Students trailed by 11 points early in the second half, running in two late tries to steal the match by just a one-point margin.
The Shute Shield win capped off a perfect day for the club, who also won second and third grade titles, and marked an impressive personal milestone for captain Tim Davidson, who has now led the first grade side to seven Shute Shield finals and five titles.
“I think it’s definitely the hardest,” said Davidson of today’s battle with Southern Districts.
“It’s fantastic and a huge relief to know that all the hard work that’s gone in has paid off,” he added.
“Full credit to Souths, they were absolutely exceptional. They put us under so much pressure, I think it (the victory) rates up there highly because of what we went through last year.”
The Students opened the scoring with a penalty goal to fullback Angus Roberts. But Southern Districts hit back in style after inside centre Apo Latunipulu set up his midfield partner Nic Cummins for the first try of the match.
Dominating the first period, the Rebels’ running rugby mentality helped them pile the pressure on Sydney University, leaving the Students unable to create any opportunities.
Winger Atieli Pakalani was a stand out in the first half, breaking first up tackles with ease while the physicality of big No.8 Lopeti Timani ensured the Rebels crossed the advantage line with every ball carry.
That attacking pressure was too much for the Students and Rebels’ fullback Ben Volavola made them pay, knocking over two penalties to take his side to an 11-3 half time lead in the club’s first ever premiership Grand Final.
But after the break, the experience of seasoned finalists and 22-time champions Sydney University began to show, as they put in a serious fight back. When hooker Nathan Charles crashed over for a great try on the back of an immense rolling maul the momentum looked to be shifting. Despite missing the conversion, fullback Angus Roberts soon made amends, crossing for a converted try of his own soon after to give the Students the lead for the first time in the match.
With ten minutes to play the Rebels pushed the Students to the brink and almost took back the lead but calling on all their experience, the Students forced the ball deep into the Rebels’ half and held out to seal their 23rd Shute Shield title and their fifth victory in six years.
Shute Shield Grand Final:
Sydney University 15 (Nathan Charles, Angus Roberts tries; Angus Roberts con, pen) d Southern Districts 14 (Nic Cummins try; Ben Volavola 3 pens)
1. Jeremy Tilse, 2. Nathan Charles, 3. Paddy Ryan; 4. Liam Winton, 5. Ollie Atkins; 6. Trent Dyer, 7. David Hickey, 8. Tim Davidson [c]; 9. Nic Stirzaker, 10. Dan Kelly; 11. Michael Hodge, 12. Tom Carter, 13. Mitch Inman, 14. Tom Kingston; 15. Angus Roberts.
1. Tetera Faulkner, 2. John Ulugia [c], 3. Tim Metcher; 4. Jed Holloway, 5. Andrew Leota; 6. Matt Swann, 7. Jono Hayes, 8. Lopeti Timani; 9. Grayson Hart, 10. Rohan Saifolio; 11. Ben Connolly, 12. Apo Latunipulu, 13. Nic Cummins, 14. Atieli Pakalani; 15. Ben Volalvola.
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- Rugby Union