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CAS Rugby 2014

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Bob McCowan (2)
I agree to an extent here. While last year was an exception (to an extent), rugby matches/tournaments aren't won in the back 3. The forward pack is crucial to a winning side, and if I were to prioritise id say that 9, 10, 12, and 13 are most important in the backline as they set up the platform for the fancy work of the outside men. That isn't intended to take anything out of the back 3, I'm just saying a winning team relies on cohesion, structure that provides a good attacking/defensive platform and good support play and the people that are most involved in this are the men with 1-8 on their back. There's 3 things that you can be sure of about barker (especially over recent years).
1. They will have good set plays ie scrum and line out should be in good nick.
2. They will have good ball retention
3. They will have a solid defense

These are simple aspects of the game but, in combination, is a very difficult formula to beat (although it definitely can and has been beaten). In the last 2 years barker have lost twice in the CAS comp. Both times it was for the same reason - they were outplayed in the forwards. They were starved of possession and when they did get the ball they got impatient as they were kept out by solid defence - this impatience leading to mistakes:
Interestingly, in both these games that barker lost there was an intercept try scored against them.

This year Knox have some star forwards, and I think they'll be well drilled by their new star coach. That said, the barker pack isn't exactly down on star players or star coaches in the accredited mr Maloney. They have returning players from last year but my main concern comes from a rather inexperienced front row. It should be a good contest this saturday, but you'd have to back Knox
I'm struggling to believe that you attended last years Waverley Barker game. The difference in the two teams at that game last year aside from one of the worst displays of schoolboy refereeing I have witnessed, where a barker forward was red carded halfway through the first half, was waverleys back line defence. Barkers back three had little influence on the game, completey
different to any other CAS match that year. In fact barker forwards dominated waverleys. This is without bias from the perspective of an aloys old boy.
Last year Pernell Filipo was playing in the Hunter Valley and Liam Rasch in Illawarra. It will be interesting to see how they go. The backline is a little makeshift - Blake played most of last year at outside-centre, and Fish at 10, but I guess Trinity thinks this is the best use of its resources.
I agree, from what I've heard the trinity team is disillusioned at the present, playing out of position and all, they will be a mess in the backs this week.
Last year Pernell Filipo was playing in the Hunter Valley and Liam Rasch in Illawarra. It will be interesting to see how they go. The backline is a little makeshift - Blake played most of last year at outside-centre, and Fish at 10, but I guess Trinity thinks this is the best use of its resources.
Also Blake was heavily out of form during the holidays, he is the wing to take advantage of


Frank Row (1)
The tea leaves have formed, my predictions for this weekends games (keep in mind these are purely theoretical - no need to be offended)

Aloysius v Cranbrook
Hard to envisage Aloys getting the upset for this game, lacking experience and depth and cant rely on Vevers to carry them to the promised land (by which i mean a best possible result of 3rd) Ultimately I see this being a close game at half time before Cranbrook opens the flood gates and wins handily

Cranbrook 30 Aloysius 10

Waverley v Trinity
I rather suspect some scrappy rugby between these two teams with both struggling for some decent form in the preseason. However flourishes of brilliance by Trinity standout Barkley-Brown will keep Trinity alive in this one and hang on to win with a late charge from Waverly

Waverly 18 Trinity 23

Barker v Knox
Most likely the game of the round, these teams always lift for each other. Preseason predictions has Knox as favourites however I say Knox's kicking woes come back to haunt them and only just hang on to win by the skin of their teeth. Look for this game to be all about the defence

Barker 13 Knox 14


Stan Wickham (3)
Predictions for tomorrow are as follows.

Cranbrook with a narrow win over Aloys.
Cranbrook have a solid pack of forwards this year with a dominant 16's pack from two years ago. This will suit the probable wet conditions. Aloys will put up a good fight, but I think Cranbrook will take the win.

Waverley to beat Trinity.
No matter what happens pre-season, Waverley always manages to turn a seemingly no name side into a hard working, skilful side. Although the Trinity pack may have a slight size advantage, I think Waverley may run away in the end.

Knox to draw with Barker.
This one is just to close to call. Both sides seem to play at another level when they verse each other. Knox has had a strong preseason with a dominant pack and smooth backs. Barker, from what I have seen, are quick and fit in the pack and the backs. My match of the round. If I was pressured into choosing a winner, Knox. But only just.

Who else is excited for round 1?


Bob McCowan (2)
A dominant performance from Cranbrook over Aloysius, final score 37 - 17

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Dave Cowper (27)
Left before game end Knox 33 barker 7 when I left
Knox giving away a lot of penalties
Barker captain and 10 smerdon went off injured first half


Nev Cottrell (35)
Wow cranbrook rugby is alive ... They are turning back the clock to the 80s.

Someone told me about the panel of specialist coaches ... Includes Jim Williams, Julian Huxley and craig morrison.... The later apparently being to waverley colleges dismay

So my take on today's proceedings ... Very impressive pack ... Unlucky to only win one tight head

Backs reasonable ... Think the outer backs will get a better testing in future games

Having said that pint sized winger edelstein played well

Will see if I could be bothered doing match report

No 8 nick makas 3 points
No 7 tom Mahony 2 points ... Although maybe he should get the 3 ... 2 silky tries and set up rentons
No 10 Renton 1 point ... Good running and goal kicking

For alloys vevers showed moments of brilliance and no 12 Sam Lawson played well in a soundly beaten team

Don't like to be too critical ... But summerhayes was disappointing ... If he is to secure rep honours he needs to be more than "mr muscles'

He had a few shockers, from a terrible long pass to letting a high ball bounce

Think he might want to work on something other than the weights ... But that is all only being harsh as he is a 3rd year player and had heard he was ok

Anyway based on today cranbrook may just have a chance at some big scalps


Larry Dwyer (12)
Saw most of the Waverley v Trinity game. Trinity won convincingly 40-20 in the end and I must say were the better of two very average teams. Nearly (if not all) of the tries on both teams consisted of one person breaking lots of tackles and either scoring himself or passing to someone else to score. I didn't see any semblance of a game plan on either side or back line movement and the forward play was limited to pick and drive and some crash balls. It was freezing at Summer Hill and I did wonder what I was doing there wasting my time watching the dross on display.

Trinity were below average and Waverley less than below average. Both team's defence leaks like a sieve and for a while it was simply a matter of one team getting into the other's 22 and they'd score. If either team comes up against another team with any semblance of a skilled and purposeful back line or forward pack pack there may be some cricket scores run up against them.

Based on what I saw today it's going to be a long season for both teams, and I wouldn't be surprised if the result was reversed at Queens Park given the mediocrity of both teams - home ground advantage may count for a bit for both teams this year given they don't have a lot else to fall back on.

Trinity had three players yellow-carded for cynical or dangerous play which is a worry. The last was the worst in a way. About a minute to go and the Trinity No 1 upended a Waverley player with the ball. Dangerous but not really malicious and yellow carded on the spot but he didn't appear to give a toss. No apology to the player, no embarrassment, nothing. Said it all about the game really. A long season for both sides looks nearly certain.


Bob McCowan (2)
Knox 38 - Barker 7

The opening game of the CAS season was built up to be a massive affair for the boys from wahroonga and waitara, the commentator was entertaining the crowd with his rugby facts, the sausage sandwiches were rolling out and the two schools were showing off their new war cries.

There was one prevailing thought in the crowd...
F&%k it's cold!
In fact it was freezing...

Barker won in the 2nds in a very tight affair by two points, with Knox unlucky to lose at the very end, but failing due to discipline and laziness out wide in defence.

The boys came out in their white and red jerseys for the ones and the game was under way. Initial thoughts were that the Knox forward pack looked very good, making a great steal down on the barker 22 within the first few minutes, then captain jimmy widders-Leece came out of nowhere onto a flat ball and broke through 3 defenders to put it down just right of the posts for a spectacular front row try.

General play then resumed after Price added the extras, with a lot of tough rugby being played in the middle of the ground, the Knox number 10 wasn't making much ground off the boot with the ball being held up in the wind, but the Knox forward pack generally dominated around the ruck after periods of even phase play.

Try's followed when Brett Van Zyl took one over from a maul, and then a lovely right hand combination from price to Watson saw the #13 score on the right edge.

The barker 9 had a much better pass than his Knox counterpart, and the barker backline looked menacing until Dave Smerdon was injured in the first half and then had to be taken off. After some bad discipline by Knox and not putting the ball out off a penalty, the barker winger (rowbotham?) scored in the corner and the barker 12 added the extras for a HT score of 21-7 (3 tries to 1)

In the second half the weather got even colder, quite a few players were cramping, and even myself felt a few cramps coming on in the legs.

The second half was another tussle with some very even rugby for a 10-15 minute period, mostly played between the two forward packs. After this period Knox became very Ill disciplined giving away way too many penalties for Matt Williams liking.

After this period it became all too easy for Knox and they were clearly the better drilled team ion the later minutes, however nick Burkett and the barker 7 and 3 didn't give up without a fight staying very strong in the ruck.
Jimmy widders Leece broke the line and ran 40 m to score under the posts after palming off the fullback easily.

Unfortunately Kirkby got injured and had to go off, but the wingers still looked threatening with ball in hand whilst the backline had little to give after that.

Connor watson scored his second after some nice backline work from Knox and was a 33-7 scoreline. Van Zyl made a 60m break down the right side into open territory to light up the Knox crowd but was eventually pulled down, however Bindczus scored on the left edge easily minutes later. Many penalties followed for barker but the score remained 38-7 at full time.

Best for knox were Widders-Leece, Watson, and Van Zyl with pierce, Seb Field, and price also very good. For barker Burkett starred, with Kirkby very good until injured, and Rowbotham, #3 and Smerdon (until injured) also handy.

Can't wait to see where these teams end up this year, my pick is 1, 2 Knox, barker, but we shall wait and see. I'll be at the Knox v Waverley game next week after ending the gala day at the school. hopefully it will be a bit warmer! A good day of footy.

golden oldie

Bob McCowan (2)
Knox 38 Barker 7 (half time 21-7)
Here's a brief run down on the game for those who did not wish to brave the cold (and I must say the crowd was down on expectations). This is all from memory and will gladly accept additions and comments.

A very interesting first half. Barker had 70% of the possession and the game was played mostly in Knox's half. The Knox defence was rock solid and stopped everything Barker could throw at them. Knox entered Barker's half three times in first half and scored 3 tries. Jimmy Widers-Leece (2)stormed through from 25m out for first try, Brett Van Zyl (6) scored the second when he dived over from ruck on Barker line, and the third try by Connor Watson (13) was a real gem down the right side from 50m out, thanks to a perfect last pass by Lucas Price (14). The Barker right winger scored on the half time bell from 10m out down an undefended blind side when Knox momentarily went to sleep.
Barker lost Smerdon (10) late in first half to an ankle injury which robbed them of attacking options in the second half.
The possession evened up a little in the second half but Barker still retained the majority. But they could do nothing with it. Every Barker backline movement was shut down by aggressive Knox tackling. Knox executed a ruthless defensive display that surely impressed their coach.
What would not have impressed Matt Williams was their line out which could only be described as poor. One of the reasons Barker were able to secure a majority of the possession throughout the game was because they won most of Knox's line out. I can only imagine line out practice at Knox this week will be front and centre!
Three more Knox tries came in the second half which showed they did not let up and were not fatigued from all the tackling they had to do. This showed a high level of fitness for this early in the season.
Barker also lost Kirkby (9) mid way through second half to an ankle injury which meant they ended the game without their experienced 9-10 combination, which would have contributed to their backline's inability to penetrate.
This was an impressive start to the season and a real team performance by Knox. Each and every player contributed to the result by doing their job to the best of their ability and are worthy of mention.


Larry Dwyer (12)
Bonus point for a loss by less than 20??????Matt Dunning's son?

I think he, like everyone else at that stage just didn't know what else to do. Based on the day's defence though, if he'd tapped and passed it (and someone didn't drop it) there was a 50% chance they would have scored.


Ward Prentice (10)
Based on pre-season and today's round it looks to me like the season could unfold as follows-
1 Knox
2/3 Cranbrook or Barker (this will be a great match)
4 Aloys
5 Trinity
6 Waverley
I'll look forward to Cranbrook vs Knox
On another note has anyone got any scores for 2nds and/or 16As?
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