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Colts - Bowral Wrap

By Keith Holmes

Last Saturday Southern Districts Colts had there first hit out for the 2018 season against a very strong Bowral Rugby Club at Bowral.

The day was very hot and on arrival a cricket game was being played on a back field and it seemed strange to be setting up for a days rugby listening to calls and shouts of Howzat, shot, good ball, and the sound of a red ball being smacked in a classic cover drive. Only in Australia!

3rds Colts started the day and from kick off went through about 20 phases of good ball control and hard running and really stretched the Bowral defence and in the conditions of the day the pay day would come at some stage once fatigue kicked in from all the defence and pressure Bowral were under. As expected there were errors and rustiness in the execution of plays but the effort to work hard keep good communication and be patient were on show resulting in try scoring opportunities presenting themselves and eventually the tries were scored and the young Colts ran out winners by about 6 tries to nil. 

2nd Colts were up against a good Bowral team who in 2017 won the 2nd grade competition in the strong Illawarra comp and had a good balance of size and pace and got of to a flyer with 2 very good early tries. Our younger players were a bit shell shocked but settled into the game and a real arm wrestle started. Bowral showed there experience and game knowledge that can combat youthful exuberance and it was interesting watching 2 completely different styles go about playing a game of Rugby. Souths fitness was a big plus and the final score of 4 tries to 2 victory to Bowral was a true reflection of the game and it showed that the Souths players can handle the physicality of the game and they will not take a backward step. This game was an excellent learning curve for our players. 

The days rugby was played in very suppressive conditions and some players had played earlier so that players were not playing long stretches so when 1sts played some players from both clubs had already played maybe 15 to 30 minutes earlier but at kick of there were 30 players ready to go and the game started at a frantic pace. Souths slipped into game mode very quickly and were into there game structures and looked comfortable in attack and defence and set pieces were strong. The speed and slickness of the backs started to open up the Bowral defence and the Souths back row had a nice balance and supported the backs in attack and getting quick ball and tries started to flow. I would like to say that the tries were not because of poor defence as Bowral tackled well and really scrambled but the pace and support play was very pleasing and it all came of a hard working tight five who through some good grunt work earned the team the right to go wide. 

I would like to give a rap to Dylan Valeni our Tight Head prop who played a lot of minutes in weather that the big guys DON’T get excited about playing in. Dylan was a tower of strength and really showed what a talent he is and most pleasing was he stepped up as a senior player to lead the way. Bowral had a number of scrums late in the game 10 metres from the Souths line and Dylan stepped up crunched his opposite prop and the rest of the scrum supported Dylans good work and drove hard on the Bowral pack shunting them back causing a penalty for Souths and it was great to see all the backs run over to acknowledge the good work by the forwards and for me that was tick tick tick of boxes. 

Well done to to the coaches, Don McKinnon, Michael Black and Gabriel Enright on how they managed the days teams and player rotation and running of the day. Rod Pratt did a great job managing the sidelines and shifting players on and off. It was a really tough day but everything ran smoothly. I would also like to give the Southern Districts players a big well done! on the way the represented the club, themselves and there family. it was a tough start to the season but it really showed that the players had made there bed. Lastly a big Rebel Yell to Bowral Rugby Club for the day and the Hospitality shown to our Colts and families on the day. Great facilities made the day comfortable for our supporters who made the trip and hopefully both clubs can make this a regular fixture as part of there rugby calendar. Next Saturday we have a trial v Gordon Rugby club at Redmond Oval Rockdale. Lets get to training and start preparing for what will be a good trial against a quality club who will throw at us different rugby challenges that we experienced against Bowral and we need to be ready for this challenge.

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