Launceston And Burnie Lead Northern Dominance
Launceston retained their lead of the Tasmanian Rugby state-wide ladder by edging the Devonport Bulls 22-17 at Don Oval on Saturday. Both sides struggled to get the ball wide, but Launceston steadily built pressure to secure two tries in each half and sneak a valuable bonus point after leading 12-0 at half-time.
Launceston coach Ray Burgess said ‘our scrum was good but we couldn’t get the ball to our centres’. For the winners flanker Ryan Brownlett, Number 8 Robbie Lyons and loose head Bertie Loubser were most impressive.
Bulls coach Derik Joubert conceded Launceston’s dominance. ‘We lived off scraps of possession, but scored twice from only four real opportunities.’ The Bulls discipline improved after some tough talk in house and visible contributors were Alistair Nesham at hooker, skipper Sean Puke, who scored two tries from outside centre and flanker Johannes Joubert.
Burnie Emus posted a first-ever win over Taroona Blues, who led 21-0 inside 15 minutes via two tries to flanker Brett Bentley and one to fly-half Rhys Webber. Taroona responded with a crumbing try to bustling back-rower Pat Schramm and might have been closer the interval but for plunging fly-half Mikie Whyte being leg-tapped by lunging Emus prop Aaron Gay.
Long-striding Blues lock James Holman reduced the gap to 21-12 ten minutes into the second half but Burnie clung on through tenacious cover defence, handy line-out wins and five valuable tight head strikes by hooker Matt Burgess. The Blues were mystified and justifiably frustrated further by very inconsistent refereeing. Impressive for the Emus were Burgess, scrum-half Josh Baldwin and Number 8 Rory Dwyer. Taroona again were well served by Schramm and James and Andrew Wicks. The denial of two late half chances to replacement Blues wing Chris Noble by the desperate Emus summed up the game.
Harlequins outlasted University 44-33 at Rugby Park. Quins admitted to perhaps taking the Red Men too lightly after their win last week. ‘The forwards secured the ball well, but our dominance came from the backs and some clever quick ball from the forwards off penalties’ said Harlequins’ captain Jeff Altmann. Sidney and Colin Filea each scored two tries for Quins. David Wooliman at fly-half again steered the attack and received good support from second and front-rower Geoff Currie. Best for a spirited Uni team that made best use of fresh replacements were Duncan Watson, Saul Lopa and front-rowers Isaac Anderson and Richard Simmons.
Stuart Dare scored four of Glenorchy’s 15 tries in a 104-21 rout of Eastern Suburbs, with centre Doug Smith and prop Chris Harwood also showing out for the Stags. Valiant scrum-half Jake Hyland scored two tries for Easts, with fine support from Brendan and Jon Elliott.