Drovers in pre­lim fi­nal

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - SPORT -

The Deni Drovers live to fight on in fi­nals fol­low­ing a stir­ring 27-5 win over Wagga Ag in Wagga on Satur­day.

The vic­tory sees the de­fend­ing South­ern In­land Rugby Union McMullen Cup cham­pi­ons move to the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal where they’ll face 2017 run­ner-up Wagga Waratahs.

The Drovers got off to an­other great start against the Ag­gies, with two quick tries to first year player Zack Thomp­son.

Thomp­son’s sec­ond try was the high­light of the half, cut­ting through Wagga’s de­fence with a swift move in­board to cross the line.

Hold­ing on to a 10-0 lead, the Drovers were put un­der heavy pres­sure for the fi­nal 10 min­utes of the first half.

But the vis­i­tors’ de­fence was rock solid, keep­ing the Ag­gies out of the try area to take the 10-0 lead into the break.

The nerves set­tled a bit in the sec­ond half, with the Ag­gies putting their first points on the board early to bring the mar­gin to 10-5.

What fol­lowed was the signs of a true con­tender though, with the Drovers scor­ing through for­ward Dar­ren Hig­gins and cen­tre Dy­lan Os­borne, ex­tend­ing their lead to 20-5.

Af­ter dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion and earn­ing a scrum the win was sealed with five min­utes to go, when the ball was worked out wide to five-eighth Dee Fea­gai, cross­ing the line and con­vert­ing his own try to fin­ish 27-5 in front.

Drovers coach Joe Gog­a­rty said it was a solid team per­for­mance by his charges.

‘‘It was pleas­ing that all of our tries came from set piece plays rather than just cap­i­tal­is­ing on a mis­take and just scor­ing op­por­tune tries,’’ he said.

‘‘At half time af­ter we went away from the game plan a lit­tle bit; we talked about mak­ing it a tight game and that we needed to have more fo­cus on the pick and drive.

‘‘We needed to get the ball wide and af­ter they scored we man­aged to just work to the plan to get mo­men­tum back.

‘‘It was a real good and solid win over strong op­po­si­tion and now we need to try and carry our mo­men­tum over to an­other tough game against the Waratahs.’’

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