RUGBY UNION –
A strong start to the 2021 Central Coast Rugby Union (CCRU) season has come for the Ourimbah Razorbacks First Grade team in their away win against the Woy Woy Lions on April 10, at Woy Woy Oval.
In this Swietelsky Premier One match, the Razorbacks went to the halftime break leading by 17 points to 0 and even at that stage seemed to be in control.
However, Woy Woy had some very effective players, namely No.8, Jazper Doak-Stride, and Centre, Junior Stowers, who made their visitors struggle for every point.
The second half saw the Razorbacks go on and post a further 22 points, with Woy Woy Lock, Philip Shaw, crossing the line for the Lions’ one try of the match.
For the Razorbacks, No.8 Rob Peden crossed the line thrice for a hat-trick, finding the gravy off the back of hard work from Lock, Josefa Biu, and Flanker, Jarrod Grange.
In the end, the score board read 39 – 5 for the travelling Razorbacks.
In the Women 10’s, it was a different result, with the Lions coming out with a tightly contested win that finished 31 – 22.
For Razorbacks’ First Grade Head Coach, Matt Hopkins, the result was a testament to the development of the Women’s league in the CCRU as a whole, despite the result not going his club’s way.
“Our women showed some really promising growth over the pre-season and are now starting to play to their full potential,” he said.
“From us, there were some really nice glimpses of running rugby, with our players taking on the advice that our coaches are providing to them, and there were some good standouts as well coming from our new recruits.
“In particular, our Club Captain and Half Back, Jamie Elwin, had a stand out performance and showed herself to be a strong leader around the park.
“This season, for the first time, we’ve got a significant bench presence which is very significant from a depth perspective.
“Personally, I think next year we will have the depth in the league to support it going to the full 15-a-side format, and that will align with the Country Rugby pathways for the women.
“I think it’s been a nice progression so far, starting as a very speedy Sevens conference built for the young, fast sportswomen.
“Now, as the competition is moving into the 15-a-side game, it’s becoming very specialised in positions, which is excellent.
“The game of 15-a-side rugby is probably more inclusive comparatively to Sevens, just because Sevens is much more based on athletics.
“As we progress now into Tens and looking forward to 15’s, there are specialised positions like props, locks and loose forwards which allow for eight person scrums.
“Reaching this point will only bring more players to the game which is something we’re looking for.”
Finally, with sights on the next match up for the Razorbacks, Hopkins shared some points on the First Grade team’s strategy going forward this season.
“Our focus this year is on thinking about how we can improve week in, week out.
“Our next game is against The Lakes, the team who knocked us out of the Semi Final last year, so I know the boys will use that loss as motivation against them next week.
“For us, strategically, there’s some electric and really talented players at The Lakes and we know that first hand, so we have to play to our strengths and try to nullify their genuine guns.”
A long season is now ahead of the CCRU clubs that looks to continue without the interruptions of last year.
For the Razorbacks, a promising lead will need to be built upon if their hopes for the title are to be realised.
Match Report, Apr 11,
Larry Thomson, CCRU