Emphatic Rugby League win levels Varsity Series

On a cold evening on 7 February 2014 at Harvey Hadden, NTU's Rugby League put in a solid and determined performance to outclass their UoN counterparts and level the 2014 varsity series at 1-1 with a 40 - 12 win!

On Friday 7 February at the Harvey Hadden Stadium, NTU's Rugby League put in a solid and determined performance to outclass their UoN counterparts and level the 2014 Varsity series at 1-1.

The fixture opening sets were an even affair but UoN quickly found some rhythm and pushed NTU back to their own 20m line. Big hits by Munnelly and Reinke got the crowd going, and UoN's attacks fizzled out into nothing thanks to some safe hands by winger Harris.

A long kick behind the UoN lines then forced a handling error and offered NTU an early chance. From the resulting scrum on UoN's 5m line, NTU worked the ball quickly to the left for fullback Jonny Shields to dive over and open the scoring - nine minutes in. And, it was Shields who doubled NTU's lead midway through the 1st half. After Odum, Howkins and Munnelly had all gone close, NTU's veteran fullback went over from close range, again on the left.

Keen to extend their lead, NTU pressed even harder from the restart and consecutive penalties immediately pushed UoN back towards their own line, where with 30 minutes on the clock, NTU attacked once more to the left, this time big second row Sam Vose was set free to power through. It proved third time lucky with the boot for Shields, who made up for his earlier conversion misses by slotting home to take the score to 14-0.

NTU's vocal support got another moment to savour minutes before half time when stand-off Matt Rowland produced the hit of the match on UoN winger Baker, though no further points were added before the interval.

The second half started much the same as the first finished. NTU strung together a lot of possession, but the UoN defence stood firm and eventually forced an NTU error. From a misplaced pass, UoN stand-off Skelley intercepted, sprinted clear, and despite a desperate last-ditch tackle by NTU winger Harris, managed to get a pass off to Swann, who went under the posts to open UoN's account for the evening. Skelley converted to make it 14-6.

NTU responded straight from the restart. Munnelly broke the UoN line and with some quick play at the ruck, Shields carried the ball over from dummy half to score his hat-trick next to the posts. A simple conversion took the score to 20-6.

A few minutes later, in an almost repeat move, the NTU forwards drove down the centre, allowing Shields to again dive over from dummy half. 26-6 with 55 minutes played. Loose forward Dave Jagger was next to get in on the NTU scoring act. From a scrum 25 metres out, NTU powered towards the posts before scrum-half Squires took control with a darting run across the UoN line before flashing a pass across the face for JAGGER to storm over and make it 30-6.

As the game wore on and players began to tire, UoN struck again on the counter. A superb chip and take by centre Aldridge allowed him to sprint clear of NTU's chasing defence and go under the posts for his team's second of the night. Skelley once again converted: 30-12.

But the closing stages belonged to NTU. And, with five minutes left, Chima Odum, who'd proved a nuisance to the UoN defence all night took a long pass from Cook on the right hand side to cut through and score in the corner. Shields missed the conversion from out wide but was on target again just two minutes later. Another fantastic pass by Squires set winger Freelander free down the left touchline and the winger brushed off four UoN tacklers to sprint home and land NTU's final try off the night under the posts.

The final score was 40-12 to NTU, a victory they thoroughly deserved.

NTU Coach Dan Smith had the following to say: "We had a plan for tonight before the game and it came off. We were really quick in defence and it made attacking that much easier. All 17 men put in a shift tonight and really earned this. I'm really proud of every one of them."

The effort and determination of UoN was to be admired but they found themselves no match for the boys in pink. NTU dominated for much of the game and the combination of a solid defence with clinical, pacey and incisive attacks proved too much for their opponents.

Visit our flickr page to re-live the action and see the great collection of images from the 2014 Varsity Rugby League match.

For more information about upcoming matches visit our 'This Series' page.

NTU Sport would like to thank Adam Hemingway for providing the original match report.

Emphatic Rugby League win levels Varsity Series

Published on 10 February 2014
  • Category: Sport

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