The NSW Schools Open trials concluded today at Knox Grammar School’s Curagul Field.
There were some lop-sided scores in the six games involving teams from the AICES, Country, CCC, ISA, CHS, CAS and GPS school associations, but at least the lads got a chance to show what they could do in front of the NSW Schools’ selectors.
Correspondent “George Smith” pulls no punches in his match reports of the two main games held at the end of the day (last game first).
Brief reports of the earlier games and the list of players chosen to represent NSW I and NSW II Schools in the 39th Novetel Australian Schools Rugby Union Championships, are on Page 2 and Page 3.
GPS I 57 — CHS 5
This game confirmed that CHS were not the second best team playing this week. No longer can the Combined High Schools compete with the independent schools with their professional rugby programs.
The score line was 57-5 and last year it was 47-3. The CHS lads could not sustain their opposition (or willingness for some) against players who played with superior skill and at a faster pace, and could resist for longer than the CHS lads could.
At four minutes GPS flyhalf Clancy drew 13. Milne straight at the opposition creating all sorts of trouble in defence, resulting in 5. Cannell scoring the first try. 9. Lussick failed with his conversion attempt.
Warren-Vosayaco, the CHS No8, was given a yellow card for a rugby league type shoulder charge against GPS 12. Moeroa. (Not using arms in a tackle is dangerous play in our game).
Then, in what was probably one of the best team tries of the day, GPS employed a two line backline that spun the ball wide and fast for 11.Robinson to score out wide. The Lussick conversion took the score to 12-0.
Clancy thought he would keep the attack button pressed and his initiative just failed to succeed when his outside backs couldn’t regather the ball three metres from the goal line.
At the 20 minute mark GPS showed their superior pace and skill when the ball moved from Clancy to 8. Crichton back to Clancy on the run around and then to a flying 15. Kellaway to score, surrounded by defenders.
Seven minutes later Clancy again gave a flat pass, to a rampaging Moeroa running “unders” to score. Lussick converted from in front: GPS 22 – CHS 0.
One minute later and GPS were in again after Milne ran off his Newington team mate, Moeroa. Conversion successful; score advancing rapidly.
Then what seem an eternity of five minutes the CHS forwards showed how pick and drives are performed, resulting in 3. Walsh scoring. CHS went to the break relieved to be on the scoreboard.
Half-time: GPS 29 – CHS 5
GPS opened the second-half scoring with their rehearsed move of getting their centres rampaging straight. This time it was Moeroa’s turn: he received a flat pass from Clancy to run over the hapless CHS centres to score under the posts. Lussick’s conversion was successful.
Two minutes later Milne ran down the right hand touchline and drew the fullback before passing to 11. Craft to finish off the try.
With the score 43-5 the CHS now showed signs of most of their backs giving up, but their forwards never did. At one stage four CHS lads were scattered about lying down and each receiving attention.
With the star GPS captain having a quiet game (for him) Andrew Kellaway, playing fullback, showed all and sundry why he has been in the Australian Schoolboys for the past two years. He received the ball on his side of half way and weaved at pace to score a superb individual try under the posts.
Coach, Brad Gill brought on some substitutions and Andrew Deegan continued his excellent form from earlier in the afternoon and scored a superb flyhalf try. With the conversion successful the score was sealed with the referee blowing his whistle to end the agony for the CHS lads.
Full time GPS 57 – CHS 5
The forwards played magnificently, keeping it tight and continually going forward making it easy for their backs.
With the forwards dominating, and giving such a sound platform, the backs received great delivery. The wingers, even after scoring a try each, often looked lonely as the dominant GPS centres continued to cannonball ahead with much effectiveness.
The forwards never gave up. They contested everything all day and made sure the GPS counterparts had to work hard for the ball.
But the backs were the weak link. Maybe they got a little punch drunk with how the GPS centres were deployed straight at them.
GPS I: 8. Angus Crichton and 7. David Morris combined again this year (as for 2012 GPS III) very effectively. They were well supported by 3. Matt Sandell and the two locks, Ned Hannigan and Lachie Cannell.
But where GPS really stood out against every other team was in the size and speed of their backs.
Although this was typified by the two centres, Tepai Moeroa and Taane Milne, their actual ball skills were quite ordinary. Jack Clancy seemed to be troubled by a knee all game but played 60 minutes of astute ball distribution, laced with a few grubbers to the dismay of his coaches. Although Andrew Kellaway didn’t handle the ball a lot he scored two tries and facilitated the lead-up of others.
CHS I : 4. Josh Vainikolo, 3. Blake Walsh, and 6. Damien Fleming were at the forefront of everything the CHS team did. They kept their opposition honest and should be proud of their efforts.
Unfortunately the CHS backs had had enough after an hour. The backs were ‘punch drunk’ against the relentless march by the huge GPS boys and left it to their forwards to keep the score in check.
Only school association politics will prevent the two NSW teams to be stacked by the semi-professional standard GPS lads.
See page 2 for the report of “George Smith” on the earlier match between CAS I and ISA I – plus brief reports on other matches.