The Rowers Third Division earned a convincing road win over cross-town rival Meralomas Saturday, scoring five tries, two conversions, and keeping the hosts off the board.
The game was tight for the first 30 minutes, as both teams pressed strong, well-structured attacks, but kept each other out of the end goals. In the 31st minute, the Rowers D was able to cause a turnover at a breakdown at the Meralomas 22, and mount a rapid counter attack.
Hard-charging flanker Allan Wildgust had two key carries as part of a series of forward crashes that advanced the gain line and put the ‘Lomas defense on the back foot, sucking them in tight and giving the Rowers’ backline space to work. Halfback Osin Daly moved it quick through the hands to fly-half Tommy Cummins, who found new Rower Victor Samyn in space, at pace, to finish the job; Samyn’s first try as a Rower. Daly slotted the conversion to make it 7-0 VRC after 30 minutes.
Ten minutes later, sustained VRC pressure earned them a lineout at their opponents’ 10 meter line. The Thirds won the lineout and set a maul that was able to march into the end goal for a try. Veteran eight man Dan O’Brian grounded the ball, but this one seemed like it belonged to the whole pack. 12-0 Rowers at the half.
In the 46th minute, after a fresh round of subs, the Rowing Club found themselves with another lineout around the Lomas’ 10 meter line. The Rowers pack won the ball again and set another maul, but the Meralomas, not about to be pushed around twice, committed enough men to drive it backward a few yards, lulling themselves into a false sense of progress.
Suddenly, substitute scrum half and Rowers Head Coach Duncan “DJ” James peeled a sneaky carry around the blind side of the maul to advance the attack. Coach DJ evaded at least two would-be tacklers on an intelligent line to the corner flag. Daly successfully kicked a difficult conversion to make it 19-0 Rowers after 46′.
The thirds played strong and aggressive defense all day, stifling the Meralomas attack behind the gain line and creating turnover ball to be fed to an eager and fluid counter-attack.
One such counter attack was able to get the ball to Rowers’ wing Elijah Khan inside the 15, with enough space to beat one defender, fend off another, and score with a somersault flourish. 24-0 Rowers in the 64th minute.
Verteran Rowers hooker Lendl Magsipoc would add another try in the corner for emphasis as time expired.
Coach Chris Seyler was proud of the performance from his third division team. “Great effort from all the players. It was great to have a bunch of players back from injury to bolster the squad.”
The win gives the Rowers Thirds an even 2 – 2 record on the year. The side is next in action this coming Saturday November, 13th when they will host Richmond RFC at Brockton. 1 pm kickoff.
More photos from this game in the photo gallery, and on Instagram @VRCrugby.