Casuarina Cougars opened their season with a comfortable 23-10 victory over the University Pirates in the Opening Round of the 2015 Rugby Union Season at Marrara last night.
There was no hint of players easing their way into the new season with the first half played at a fast and furious pace.
A casualty of the game’s pace was ball control with both sides timing in need of fine tuning.
A penalty goal in the first minute to Nate Lamb gave the Cougars an early lead.
A rolling maul from a line-out fifteen minutes later enabled loose forward Bobby Nurse to score and with Lamb’s conversion Casuarina were up ten.
Casuarina dominated field position in the first half but the Pirates defence was up for the challenge and were able to hold their arch rival to a solitary try.
Lamb slotted a penalty shortly before the break for a 13-0 lead and then another one seven minutes into the second period.
Casuarina had University under plenty of pressure with Lamb and Ryan McMurray kicking to space.
Play slowed considerably in the second half with Casuarina intent on playing for territorial advantage rather than running from their half.
A line break by Nurse resulted in a try to flanker Scott Richards and with the Lamb conversion a seemingly unassailable 23-0 lead with fifteen minutes remaining.
That play came shortly after a McMurray break that almost resulted in a try to Nurse with last year’s Mosquito Play of the Year outstanding throughout the game.
Renowned for never giving up the Pirates recovered the ball almost immediately and Frank Jennings tore through the defence to post his side’s first points.
Five minutes later replacement Shaun Wauchope broke through the Casuarina line and the resulting play saw Fly Half Michael Mason cross for a try on his First Grade debut for the Club.
Both teams were missing key players and their line-ups will be considerably varied when they next meet.
In the early game South Darwin piled on the points in the second half to defeat Darwin Dragons 50-5 after leading 12-0 at half time.
Casuarina 23 Nurse, Richards Tries Nurse 2 Conv 3 Pen Def University 10 Jennings, Mason Tries.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby.