The VRC Premier side beat the Ravens on the road at Jercicho today by a score of 21-0.
The Rowers got on the board early, attacking from a lineout at the Ravens five. Prop forward Eddie Quinn hit the tail man on the throw in, then spun around behind to backstop a powerful Rowers maul that was able to travel most of the remaining distance to the try line, smuggling the ball back to Quinn who put in a bit of footwork at the end to gain the line and put the ball down under the posts for five. Fly half Nick Wackawitz notched the conversion to make it 7- 0 Rowers.
Later in the period, Wackawitz would find some space in the Ravens’ end to advance the ball 20 yards, making defenders miss until finally having his progress stopped just shy of the goal line. Wacka fed a left shoulder offload to centre Mitch Stainer, running a tight support line, who was then able to finish the job. After the game, the young Englishman would describe his inaugural Rowers try as his, “first Canadian bit of meat.” The Wackawitz conversion made it 14 – 0 for the Rowers.
Despite abbreviated halves (30 minutes, at the request of the hosts), the Rowers were able to add a third try before the end of the first half, as fullback Tom Rowland took the Ravens defense apart with an excellent inside dummy, a stiff-arm of his opposite number, and an outside run that put the defense on the chase, and left nobody home inside. Rowland cut back in through the neglected part of the defensive pattern to complete the job. Wacka hit his third conversion of the day to make it 21 – 0.
The Rowers controlled the ball well in the second half, keeping the hosts off the board. The attack remained on the front foot, as this Rowers Prems team demonstrated intelligent kicking and strong set piece play to keep the pressure on the Ravens. The VRC put the ball in the end goal three times during the period, only to have it called back, once when the referee judged that a maul had been stopped in the end goal, once when flanker Rory Sanderson had an apparent try called back for a knock on, another when Stainer was ruled to have knocked the ball on while grounding it, though young Mitch insisted to the Ruck Muck after the game that he did not.
Forwards Coach John Mergui told us after the game that it was a “relief,” to get the win. He was pleased with the strength of the maul, and with his club’s attitude and effort in general. “We played all the rugby. The second half was all us. Good pattern, and aggression at the breakdown. The only trouble we had was on D, allowing them to break the gain line a few times.”
The Rowers Prems are next in action this coming Saturday October 30th at Brockton, where they will host Burnaby Lake.
Rowers 3rds lose to the Kats away
The Rowers third division had trouble with a well-disciplined Kats team Saturday, falling by a score of 29-3.
Scrum half Ashley van Rensburg scored the lone Rowers points on an early penalty in a game that was defined by the hosts’ ability to play tight rugby, maximize their possession, and limit their mistakes.
The thirds were plagued by handling errors in wet conditions, seemed ball-starved, and played a bit too frantically to establish any continuity. But the efforts were there, both individually and as a team, and we’re looking forward to watching some of the newer players gain experience.
The thirds are next in action November 6th, when they will travel to Connaught Park to take on the Meralomas.