Second Div Comes On Strong In the Second Half To Beat The Sharks
The undefeated VRC First Division kicked off the second half of their 2017/18 season, beating Bayside away 29-15.
The Rowers fell behind early on a cold, wet day. They struggled with ball control and recovery early, losing one in space that allowed Bayside to get on the board first and to lead at the half. But strong pack play in the set pieces afforded them enough chances at attack to make up for it in the second half.
New halfbacks Kent Abbot and Dylan Case ran the pattern as efficiently as their predecessors, getting the backs the ball in space for big yards. “Disco Stu” Holland had a standout game at fullback making yards off of loose balls and a strong return game, finishing the day with one try. Matt Liszt came on at the half to take over at centre and as captain for Steve MacGillivary, and proved next to impossible to tackle. Liszt finished the day with at least one try, and the matching convert – the 2nd’s only convert on the day.
[ED NOTE: There are no longer game sheets being kept for VRC games, so individual scoring totals are approximated. Think of it as innovation in club-centred reporting. We all scored those trys.)
The conditions made for a game suited to forwards, and the Super 2s’ pack didn’t disappoint. Hard pods running off the nine worked well, and on a day when the ball was hard to hang on to, the Rowers pack were instrumental in securing opportunities off of recovered loose balls.
Forwards Coach Richard Bice – whose 2s scrum pushed the Bayside scrum off of their own ball at least twice – managed to draw a penalty for leaving the sideline to complain to the referee as the Rowers threatened at their opponent’s 10. In the wake of the outcome, with the Rowers 2s now 11-0, there were no hard feelings.
Don’t call it a comeback!
J.Wo & Frenchy have been here for years.
The 2s pack benefited from the return of veteran Rowers Jon Mergui and Justin Wong at flanker and prop respectively. Still shaking off a bit of rust, Mergui was guilty of losing the ball 10 yards from the Sharks’ goal line with the kind of ill-advised, one-handed offload in contact that he frequently denounces in his coaching role. Coach Mergui made up for it later in the first half, breaking a tackle to score a try in the corner.
Wong came on in the 2nd half to contribute to the ongoing strong scrummaging, and to score two tries, one in a driving maul with fellow super-sub prop Keegan Watcham-Roy. Front row utility forward Justin Humphreys – in town from Australia for a limited time only – contributed several strong runs and solid ball protection in his first and only game back.