Bunnies hop into second half rout
SOUTH Darwin scored 26 second half points at University Oval yesterday to defeat the Pirates and keep their undefeated NTRU record intact.
Despite trailing 14-0 at halftime, the experience of Setefano Cakau, Andrew Walker and Abele Atunaisa enabled the Bunnies to mount a stirring comeback in the top-of-thetable clash.
“We were our own worst enemies in the first half, piggybacking them with penalties and not winning our lineouts and scrums,” Souths coach James de Dassel said.
“We tinkered a few things at halftime and we got a bit of possession and you could see what we can do.”
The Pirates completely dominated the first stanza. The opening 20 minutes saw a barrage of attack on Souths’ tryline.
The Rabbitohs did well to repel Uni. However, they couldn’t scramble forever and Uni eventually crossed through a Shaun Wauchope try.
Souths’ ill-discipline let them down as a string of penalties continually catapulted the Pirates up the field.
University scored another converted try before the break through Isaac Taulelei. A shift to the right caught Souths’ defence short on the right.
It was a different story after the interval.
The Rabbitohs found ball and with it came their groove in attack. They levelled the score at 14-14 through tries to Chris O’Leary and Cakau within 15 minutes.
Liam Walker’s performance for Uni at fly-half, filling in for the injured Robbie Butcher, was superb.
An individual effort saw him slice through the Rabbitohs’ line after a cross field run to score a five-pointer and put the Pirates back in the lead.
However, that would be the home side’s last points of the afternoon.
On the back of a dominant scrum, the pace of the Bunnies backline proved too much to handle for Uni.
A try to halfback Vinny Mehn and clean break from the halfway line from Atunaisa gave them the lead with 10 minutes remaining.
University boss Hone Edwards said he was disappointed with his side’s attitude.
“In the first half we committed ourselves to playing, but that second half, we didn’t want to play, we just died off,” he said.
“It’s a matter of our team having to play 80 minutes.”
South Darwin 26 (O’Leary, Cakau, Mehn, Atunaisa tries; Cakau 3 conversions) d Uni 21 (Wauchope, Taulelei, Walker tries; Walker 3 conversions)
University winger Evan Needham finds his way blocked at University Rugby Oval yesterday by Wise Sekitoga and Cole Roughen of Souths