1st XV report – July 18 – SPC d Geelong Grammar

July 19, 2015

St Patrick’s College 1stXV vs. Geelong Grammar (18/07)

Fulltime:– 80-19 (HT 40-0)

Tries:– Joshua Coward 4, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus 4, Nicholas Donghi 2, Dyvontae Tippett 1, Marcus Kaponga 1

Conversions: Joshua Coward 10/12

It has been a calendar month since we last played. This period off always concerns me as the boys leave for a significant period of -‘down time’. Training this week was positive, although numbers were once again an issue on Tuesday night -“ this will be addressed in our last three weeks of the season, building towards finals. The reality though is that regardless of the week of training, the first game back after the holidays always presents an unknown factor. How will the boys respond to the contact, how will the systems click, simply, how will the boys go at executing the basics? Preparations were again a little disjointed with regards to selection -“ there were a couple of notable absences, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus, fresh of his match winning introduction against Xavier in the previous round, was elevated to the starting team and Joshua Clarke was set to make his debut off the bench.

Geelong have yet to win a game this season but this would not be a fair reflection of their capabilities -“ in each of their defeats they have brought a competitiveness to proceedings and, almost always, a strong performance from their forwards. We have half an eye on finals footy, with it guaranteed before the break, but were not going to underestimate Geelong. We were also keen to implement a game plan that could see us both successful in today’s fixture and our finals campaign. It is also important to note that this was the College’s -‘Gala Day’ for rugby so it was important we performed for all those in attendance and for the junior teams that look to this 1stXV and want to emulate their success.

The first half was close to a complete performance -“ and belied the many pre-match fears that this coach had had. Our defensive pressure was outstanding and ball in hand, well we were masterful. The VSRU competition are well aware of our backline brilliance but today it was a standout performance from the entire bench, against a forward pack that were physically much bigger than ours. At halftime I said to the players that in the past they have made my team talks very difficult, frustrating even, but today I simply asked them to return to the field and repeat their first half effort, which, for the most part, they did. It is difficult, even in a full match report, to single out individuals in light of this whole team performance. One first half score does stand out as a brilliant team score. Fielding the ball inside our defensive 22m we kicked for territory -“ right winger and general utility player Brady Buttler chased with kicker Nicholas Donghi to apply great pressure on the Geelong fullback. Completing an excellent two man tackle, loose forward (and man of the match) Billy Sullivan turned the ball over, it was quickly recycled to an expectant backline and outside centre Mickitja Rotumah-Onus went under the posts for the second of his four tries. Each individual executing their roles to perfection -“ it was a wonderful team try.

In total the College scored an impressive 12 tries across the 70mins, with captain and fly half Joshua Coward successfully converting 10 of the 12 scores. It was a resounding victory. There was individual attacking brilliance from both Joshua Coward and Nicholas Donghi, who both spent the recent holiday representing Victoria in the National Championships, and some equally impressive forward endeavour from Brendan Bell, vice-captain Ben DeBono, who himself represented Tasmania in the recent schoolboy championships, and his fellow vice-captain Dyvontae Tippett, playing out of position at No.8. However what underpinned the team’s success was the performance of Billy Sullivan whose link play and turnovers was crucial in SPC enjoying so much go forward ball.

A win next Saturday against Melbourne Grammar will secure a top two position and the home semi-final. Melbourne Grammar are currently fourth on the ladder and represent one of Victoria’s established rugby schools, contesting the GF on a number of occasions in recent years. There will inevitably be personnel changes to this 1stXV before our next game but what is clear amongst our playing group is a real sense of pride underpinning the attitude as they walk out onto the park. Today’s crowd were witness to an outstanding performance and I am incredibly proud of what all our players did for their College today.

See you all next Saturday in Melbourne.

Best: Billy Sullivan, Joshua Coward, Mickitja Rotumah-Onus, Nicholas Donghi, Dyvontae Tippett