Strong start to rugby season
St Andrew’s College first rugby side kicked off their rugby season with a superb 64-10 home win over Union High as new first XV coach Andy Royle got his reign off to a bright start. Having led 26-3 at half-time, the hosts dominated throughout the game. Centre Matt More ran the show with a spectacular 39 points.
With Union putting pressure on St Andrew’s early in the game, it was a turnover that stifled their momentum and led More to draw first blood. He scored under the poles and converted his own try.
After back and forth action for the next five minutes, Sean Varty made a brilliant run, breaking through three tackles before passing to Byron Sharwood, who scored at the end of the 10th minute for another converted try.
Union got some points on the scoreboard in the 21st minute, slotting a penalty over. Yellow cards reduced St Andrew’s to 13 men, but Union were unable to take advantage of the numbers.
The hosts soon hit back as Robert Quarmby saw an opportunity and pounced on it, picking up a fumbled ball to score an unconverted try in the 27th minute.
Union were not to be perturbed. Their number 11 made a blistering run down the wing, but was pushed into touch metres away from the tryline. St Andrew’s swung the momentum back in their favour as Quarmby’s clearance from their tryline was caught by Murray Koster, who offloaded to More for a spectacular unconverted try to end the first half.
Thirty seconds into the second half, Union’s number 21 made a quick break, sprinting to the tryline, only to ruin the run with a poorly timed pass. More scored his third try of the game, effortlessly running through a gap in the Union defence and putting the ball down for a converted try.
William McAdam scored his first try of the game for St Andrew’s two minutes later, bolting down the wing for an unconverted five-pointer.
Shortly afterwards, a controversial moment arose when More appeared to drop the ball over the tryline, but was awarded a try - which was subsequently converted.
In the 51st minute of the 70, Union scored their first try of the game, which was converted, after a great set move. St Andrew’s responded by tapping into the reserve tank between the 63rd and 68th minute, scoring three tries by Murray Wilson, More, and Jack Allanson and clinching a convincing win.
Coach Royle, however, insisted there was room for improvement, claiming that his side “gave away too many penalties.” Nevertheless, he paid tribute to his players, saying that they had made him “very excited” for an intriguing rugby season ahead.