Students fall at final hurdle
Sydney University women’s rugby union team went through the 2017 season undefeated – until Saturday’s grand final meeting with Warringah.
In a titanic battle at Boronia Park, the Rats prevailed 21-17 to collect the Jack Scott Cup for Sydney premier women’s rugby competition.
The portent for a close struggle came from the only contest between the two teams during the season – the final round of the competition proper.
Sydney University prevailed 18-14 on that occasion thanks to the boot of five-eighth Ashleigh Hewson who landed two penalty goals after the teams each scored two tries.
Hewson wasn’t available at the weekend when two conversions separated the sides after each scored three tries.
Tasmin Sheppard, Brittany Le’Auanae and Iliseva Batibasaga crossed for Sydney University’s tries, with Lope Leiataua landing one goal.
Having collected the minor premiership, the Students swept aside Campbelltown in a seven-try demolition in their semi-final, while Warringah accounted for fourth-placed Parramatta 34-7 in the other semi-final.
The Students were hoping to send team-mates Ashleigh Hewson and Grace Hamilton off the World Cup with a title under the belts but it wasn’t to be.
Hewson and Hamilton left today with the 28-woman Australian squad to contest the 2017 Rugby World Cup in Ireland in during August.
Hewson, who captained the Wallaroos on their recent New Zealand tour, needs just two more points to become the highest pointscorer in Wallaroos history. The five-eighth/fullback is on 64 points, one behind former winger Tricia Brown, who finished her career with 65 points.
Backrower Hamilton, who hails from Panuara in the NSW Central West, started playing rugby while on a university exchange to the US.
She was selected in the Sydney team in 2014 and won Wallaroo selection on the recent tour to New Zealand.
The Wallaroos are in Pool C alongside hosts Ireland, as well as France and Japan.
They’ll play their three pool matches at University College Dublin, meeting Ireland on August 10, France on August 14, and Japan on August 18.
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