St. Augustine’s College won the Waratah Shield for the fifth time in six years at Forshaw Rugby Park yesterday.
Coach John Papahatzis, who had previously taken St. Edmunds College to five consecutive titles, achieved the distinction of coaching teams to tournament victory ten times in eleven attempts.
St. Augustine’s College 64 — Oakhill College 21
It looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for Oakhill when they fumbled the ball several times after the kick-off. This pinned them down in their own half and 7. Johnnie Walker made them pay the price when he charged through them for a St. Augustine’s try.
But Oakhill struck back when 10. James Day gave a well-timed pass to 14. Cameron Daniels who beat a tackle, then passed back to Day who had run around him. Over he went for a try, and the wide conversion by 12. Matt Collins, tied the match for Oakhill 7-7 after eight minutes of play.
The teams threw everything they had at teach other for a while; Oakhill had chances but it was Auggies who broke the deadlock.
12. James Parker ran the ball wide and his fellow ranga, 11. Grant McDonald, cut inside in support. He took the pill up the middle then dished a long return ball to Parker who went in-and-away to score in the corner. There was no conversion and Auggies led 12-7 at 22 minutes.
But after receiving the restart kick Auggies threw a loose pass under pressure and it was intercepted by 13. Lachlan Burland, who sauntered under the posts to score for Oakhill. The conversion put them ahead, 14-12.
Auggies took their turn next, after spending some time in the Oakhill 22. They sucked in defenders at a maul and when the ball was whipped out wide, 13. Jed Ibbotson scored four minutes before the break. The conversion missed.
St.Augustine’s led 19-14 at half-time but it was not a bad shift for Oakhill. Only five points behind, they had pushed the offside envelope successfully and would have a following wind in the second half.
But soon after the break Auggies put their mark on the second half and the game.
Right wing Charlie Taylor swept into the backline on the other side of the park and after some slick hands McDonald charged up near to the Oakhill goal-line. When tackled he popped the ball up to Taylor, backing up, for his first try.
Then Oakhill dropped their first-half defensive standards when Arnold avoided would-be tacklers and broke away to score under the posts. Ten minutes into the second half the score had blown out to 33-14 for St. Augustine’s.
Tries to the Brookvale team cascaded after that. Taylor sliced through in a lineout set move for try no 2; Parker ran through tacklers who escorted him to their goal-line; 2. Max Cook burrowed over from close-in, and Taylor scored his third try in 20 minutes, in the corner, when he looked well-covered.
Auggies led 59-14 with nine minutes to go.
To their credit Oakhill regathered and 6. Will Ryan scored after a few pick and goes.
But St. Augustines had one more 5-pointer in them. 15. Haydn Cochrane scored a fine try with a weaving run to make the final score: St. Augustines 64 – Oakhill 21
Oakhill looked competitive in the first half and must have hoped that they would be more than that in the second, with the breeze behind them. However their forwards could not prevail in the physical contests—they hit the rucks one at time and eventually were worn down.
They lacked game-breakers in their backline and their star player, fullback Ben Cotton, was well-contained.
St. Augustine’s ran the ball from everywhere and established their second half dominance by setting a good platform in the first. Just before oranges you could see the danger signs for their opponents.
Their second half effort was both brutal and skilful. Some of their running, backing-up, ball work and option taking would have been instructive to senior players.
Oakhill – It was a tough day for them especially in the second half when they were on the back foot for most of the time, but 12. Matt Collins, 10. James Day and 15. Ben Cotton were three of their best.
St. Augustine’s had many strong performers but my man-of the-match was 12. James Parker who made ground all day with direct running, and when he didn’t break the line he at least attracted defenders for the benefit of others. Flyhalf Mathew Arnold had a commanding game, as he did in the semi-final, and 7. Johnnie Walker was the best of a savage backrow.
Honourable mention to Australian Schools winger Charlie Taylor for his second-half hat-trick: sometimes he seemed to out-number two defenders.
This year St. Augustines have played in trials in New Zealand, in the ISA competition and in the Waratah Shield tournament. Congratulations to them for being undefeated in 2013.
Tries: Charlie Taylor (3), James Parker (2), Johnnie Walker, Jed Ibbotson, Mathew Arnold, Max Cook, Hayden Cochrane. Conversions: Cochrane (7) Oakhill College — 21 Tries: James, Day, Lachlan Burland, Will Ryan. Conversions: Matt Collins (3) Referee: Mr. Alex Richards
Tries: Charlie Taylor (3), James Parker (2), Johnnie Walker, Jed Ibbotson, Mathew Arnold, Max Cook, Hayden Cochrane.
Conversions: Cochrane (7)
Oakhill College — 21
Tries: James, Day, Lachlan Burland, Will Ryan.
Conversions: Matt Collins (3)
Referee: Mr. Alex Richards
The final of The Arthur Buchan Shield for Under 16 players was held earlier in the day.
The finalists were Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School from Tamworth, in the New England region, and Griffith High School, from the Riverina.
Farrer MAHS — 50 – [8 tries; 5 conversions]
Griffith High School — 12 – [ 2 tries; 1 conversion]