Quins began the 2015 season with 2 victories out of 3 against local rivals Sydney Irish on Saturday. Against an arguably better-prepared opposition, the home yet again defied the odds to defeat the Irish 2s and 3s sides. The 1s battled hard against a well-drilled defence, and some desperately inconsistent refereeing, before succumbing by a score in a game that was highlighted by a horrific injury to an Irish back.
|Sydney Harlequins||12||v||Sydney Irish||5|
Quins’ start to a warm Waterloo Oval was brightened when a relatively new 3rd VX beat their Irish opposition. This victory was actually more convincing than the scoreboard would admit, while the defence set the tone for the other games. Ryan Brady had the most eventful game, in one moment simultaneously dummying 3 opposition backs with a basketball over-pass before touching down in the corner, only to later try and run the ball from his own 22 and throw an outrageous forward pass directly to his opposite man with 15 metres of free space.
Kudos to the ‘other’ Ryan who scored our other try, and the forwards who improved the scrum immeasurably as the game went on. Thoughts from Chisholm:
The Irish 3s were better organised and very hard around the scrums/rucks, but we out-classed them with our hard running forwards and good use of the ball in the back line (when we had it) was enough to get us over the line. This was especially important considering the thrown-together aspect of the team and losing a key player in Isaac – who had such a good pre-season – in the first five minutes, not to mention a mix of inexperienced and out-of-position players. We won the points, but, more valuable at this time of the season, we gave experience to players new to Quins and rugby against a hard outfit which will be invaluable at the pointy end of the season. Points for the game: 3 – Ryan, 2 – Leggy, and 1 – Biscuit who has apparently stepped back from the leadership roles this season but showed otherwise on Saturday, before and during the game.
|Sydney Harlequins||21||v||Sydney Irish||10||Waterloo Oval|
Lining up against the previous year’ champions is no easy task, not least when they’ve had almost twice as many trial games as you AND they’ve just won sponsorship from Sydney’s newest Fish & Chip shop. But not even those highs could prepare Irish for the destructive job done on them by a fired-up Quins.
Quins first score came 5 minutes before half-time. Scrum-half Hayden Greentree delivered blind to full-back Anthony Murray, who stepped past a tiring lock and found Hayden on his inside to score under the posts. Fly-half Jim knocked over the extras, as well as 3 other penalties for repeated Irish infringements around the ruck.
Will Kwok provided a moment of magic for Quins’ second. Taking the ball at outside centre, last year’s coach threw a fend, took a step, and cruised through the Irish back line before beating everyone to the corner. Since playing full-time again, Kwok has found a renewed freedom and looked threatening in attack and defence throughout.
The Irish pack scored near the end with a lengthy maul, but the tiring Quins forwards (including an impressive front-row) defended with heart until the final whistle. More from Chisholm:
Hard running forwards like Nick Kenny set up this win. Very hard again in the scrum and great work from all the props and hookers who shared a tough load across all three grades. A comfortable win in the end but very tough in the first half.
|Sydney Harlequins||12||v||Sydney Irish||17||Waterloo Oval|
The final game of the opening day began at high pace, with 2 fresh sides who both finished near the top of the pile last term. This fixture is always a fractious one, but Quins soon had the early bragging rights. Despite the fortuitous nature of the try, it was reward for good early pressure: Steve Irwin sending a grubba through for the onrushing backs. Before a centre could reach it, the ball rebounded off the post for Irwin himself to touch-down.
The rest of the match, and the 3 tries that followed, were overshadowed by a excruciating injury to one of the Sydney Irish wingers taking a tackle during a flowing wide move. The game was suspended for almost an hour, and the match was therefore shortened because of the dimming natural light. Harlequins wish him the best for his recovery.
Despite excellent defensive performances by Ardy Haimona and Ratty McDonnell, Quins suffered at the hands of some ostentatious refereeing. 4 cards were issued in all, with Irwin suffering from diplomatic deficiency throughout. One period before the delayed half-time saw Quins work a full 70 metres up the pitch with just 13 men. Last word from Chisholm:
One of the strangest games I have seen and an example of what can happen if you get the ref ‘offside’ early, the 50/50s all go the other way. The calls are not worth any more of a mention but heart was shown when out-numbered with time and light running out. The Irish physicality was met head-on and put to bed; special mention to Ardz here who seemed as ageless as he was fearless coming into the defensive line to destroy players before they could get momentum into the big men. I think Kerber at 9 for Quins’ 1s was the find of the day, personally. All three sides at times lacked the cohesion evident of sporadic training, as well a question of fitness that other clubs will ask to much greater depth than Irish did on sat. Also thanks to Nick Lewis and Robbie ‘Wombat’ Scott who came out of retirement to prop (are they mad?!) and Tom Silburn, who flies overseas on Wednesday and I told I would only use in an emergency for 5 or 10 min!
Next week sees us travel up to Rose Bay again for the league game against Sydney Convicts. After Convicts’ showing at the trial game, this will not be as easy as last season’s fixture suggested.