27th February, 2017
Bottomley Park looked a picture for Bond University Rugby Club’s first outing of the season against Easts. A new lick of paint on the clubhouse, a playing surface like a bowling green and a host of new young players greeted our boys – as well as a boiling hot day. But it was good to see Reds’ coach Nick Stiles release Alex Mafi, Caderyn Neville and Easts Michael Gunn for the day.
We won 2 out of the 4 trials, but not the one that counts most, the Premier Grade. The Tigers started like it was a Grand Final and racked up 4 tries to lead 24-0. The Bond boys had an excuse – 9 eligible players were involved in the Under 20s National Championships.
In a scrappy first half there was a lack of commitment to the Breakdown and our scrum was penalised, creating a glut of possession for Easts. Poor use of possession and giving the ball back to Easts in strong attacking positions saw Easts grab 3 early tries.
However, the second half was a different story. Alert new centre, English import Adam Higgins latched onto a loose Easts pass and raced 30m to score. Vitori Buatava converted and it was 24-7. The try seemed to lift the Bond team and they tore into the Tigers with renewed vigour.
Vitori cleverly sensed a slackness around the Easts ruck, darted through from his own 22 and linked with Brad Jones on the right wing. Brad drew the defence and slipped the ball back inside to Tori and Adam Higgins, backing up inside, raced in for his second try. Tori’s conversion made it 24-14.
With Easts tiring, our boys sniffed a possible win and threw everything into the final ten minutes. With some clever play from “old heads” like Nick Turner, Jake Upfield, Tai Ford and Rubin Fuimaono, we got field position and big young flanker Tipene Mavoa crashed through a tiring defence. It was 24-19 but time ran out.
All things considered, it was an encouraging start. When we get our under 20 boys back, we’ll be a force to contend with.
The trial was a “coming of age” for youngsters Sam Wood, Michael Marshall, Exequiel Olivieri and Jameson Quirk making their debuts if Premier Grade. Well done boys!
It was a tough baptism for new Reserves coach, Jed Hogan, as his team was steamrolled by a slick Tigers outfit scoring 4 tries to none. To put things in perspective, Easts are a huge club, while we have only 4 teams. When you take 9 of our best players out for under 20s matches, there’s not a lot of depth.
But it was good to see youngsters Struan Robertson, Cliff Otswald and Alfie Kensit having their first run in senior grade. And welcome to the club Sonny Pettybourne.
PLENTY OF DEPTH IN COLTS
With big Vinnie Collins leading the way, Colts 1 smashed Easts in the first trial by 30-5. Big Vinnie was simply unstoppable in scoring 2 tries and showed terrific fitness for this early stage of the season. New coaches Damian Cahill and Syd Douglas have done a fine job in getting the Bond boys fit and ready for the season. The set-piece worked well and the backs kept their shape in trying conditions, with the temperature over 30 degrees. Good to see another Nucifora, young flyhalf John, on the field, following in the footsteps of older brother, Harry.
In the Premier Colts trial, young fullback Josh Walker caught the eye with some brilliant sidestepping runs. One try, when he ran through the whole Tigers team over 50m was a gem. Jack Pickering and Aaron Aitken also scored tries in a hard-fought contest which Bond won 17-12. Others to catch the eye were Isaiah Wildermoth and Jack Butler in the forwards and Austin Campion in the backs. The coaching combination of Geoff Townsend, Roscoe Deacon and Ray Smith seems to be working really well and we can look forward to another successful season.
**CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 9 BOND PLAYERS WHO WERE SELECTED IN REDS, REBELS AND FORCE TEAMS FOR THE UNDER 20 CHAMPIONSHIPS. 6 BOND BOYS WERE IN THE REDS TEAM THAT BEAT THE REBELS 30-13, WITH HAMISH STEWART MAN OF THE MATCH.
The Bond University Rugby Club wish to thank our valuable 2017 Corporate PartnersAll Sponsors