The University of Adelaide Roma’s have finished fifth in their home round of the Aon Uni7s series. In an up and down weekend the Roma’s started sluggishly, losing their first two matches, but ended with a bang, with a pair of clinical Sunday afternoon performances clinching valuable competition points. Below is a summary of each match.
The University of Adelaide Roma’s vs University of Sydney
The Roma’s endured a tough start to their home round, going down to a sharp University of Sydney side 24-0.
Signs were ominous from the kick-off, as the Roma’s failed to take clean possession of the ball and subsequently turned the ball over Sydney, to hand their opponents strong field position from the outset. However, a combination of strong Roma’s defence and sloppy Sydney handling saw possession change hands again.
Unfortunately, the Roma’s could not generate attacking flow going forward, and were pinned on the line by the disciplined Sydney defence. Sydney were rewarded for their efforts with a turnover in possession, and this time they made no mistake, taking the quick tap and opening the scoring. The conversion was missed, but they led 5-0.
A much improved receive at the kick-off saw Australian 7s representative Mahalia Murphy take the ball and thrust the Roma’s into attack. A switch in play found Welsh speedster Jasmine Joyce, who evaded three Sydney defenders and gained precious metres for the Roma’s.
The ball was subsequently switched back to the returning Brianna Nathan, who charged through the defence and all the way to the line before being unfortunately brought down before grounding the ball, losing possession in the process.
A scrum resulted, granting the Roma’s back possession, only for it to yet again be lost through sloppy ball handling, an unfortunate theme of the first half. This gave Sydney their first possession in attacking territory for some time and they duly obliged by finding an overlap runner on the right wing and scoring with the last play of the half. The conversion was missed, but Sydney still ran in at the break with a ten-point buffer and significant momentum.
Hannah Jones kicked off with considerable depth to re-start proceedings, and watertight Roma’s defence ensured the strong field position was maintained. An unfortunate penalty halted the best period of Roma’s defence for the match and gave Sydney their first attacking look of the half. Thankfully, the throw wasn’t straight and the Roma’s won a scrum.
The Roma’s took possession after a strong set piece, but yet again ball handling was the cause of their demise, as they gave possession away on the Sydney line. The Sydneysiders again found an overlap runner and scored. This time the conversion was good, and their lead was stretched to 17.
Possession was traded from the kick off, as the Roma’s lost the ball, only for a strong tackle from Nathan to induce a Sydney error. Sadly, the Roma’s lost possession through a penalty almost immediately, again gifting Sydney strong field position.
Gaps in the fatiguing Roma’s defence were again found by Sydney, who went over for their fourth try of the match. The successful conversion brought a close to proceedings, the final score 24-0 in the favour of the visitors.
Final Score: Roma’s 0 v 24 University of Sydney
The University of Adelaide Roma’s vs Griffith University
Game 2 saw the Roma’s take on familiar foe and round 2 champions Griffith University, against whom they endured a last-minute loss in round 1 and a draw in round 2 on the Gold Coast last round.
The match will be largely remembered for the brilliance of Joyce, who showcased her speed and class to score a hat-trick. Her efforts were unfortunately not enough to inspire the Roma’s to victory, going down in a spirited performance 28-19.
The match started well for the hosts, with Nathan’s kick off landing deep in Griffith territory. The positional advantage was compounded by the strong work of Australian squad member Eva Karapni in defence, who executed several crucial tackles in the opening exchanges. Griffith, however, persisted through the defensive onslaught and eventually found a gap in defence to score under the posts. The regulation conversion gave them a 7-0 lead.
Murphy again showcased her range of skills at the kick-off, making a difficult take look easy. The Roma’s steadily made their way forward before a mistake on halfway gave Griffith the chance to attack through a scrum.
The scrum had been a highlight to this point of the day for the Roma’s and their strength at the set piece was again on display, as they won possession back. From there, the ball was shifted wide to Joyce, who left the entire defence in her wake as she sprinted across three quarters of the field to score her first. Jones made no mistake with the conversion and scores were locked.
Nathan’s kick-off again travelled well into attacking territory and forced a Griffith line out. Credit to the Queenslanders, they executed their play to perfection, before a Roma’s penalty on halfway gave them a strong attacking look. Karpani again made several desperate tackles in defence but in a near mirror image of their five pointer, Griffith were rewarded for their persistence and eventually scored. They made no mistake at the kick to lead by a converted try at the break.
Taking possession to kick off the second half, the Roma’s switched from right to left and the ball made its way into the safe hands of Jones. She duly linked up with her countrywomen Joyce, who for the second time in the match broke the line and ran majority of the field. Jones again converted, and the scores were again locked at 14-apiece. Another nail biter looked to be on the cards.
Credit to Griffith, their response was exceptional. They scored from the next 2 kick off’s, both of which were converted. In a flash, they were double the Roma’s score and looked to have the game under control.
The Roma’s never gave up though, and the girls continued to press forward with great determination. Zara Lee won a penalty following an exceptional take from the kick-off, and the Roma’s threw the ball around until the found the hands of Joyce, who timed her run to perfection and complete her hat trick. The missed conversion brought an end to proceedings.
Final Score: Roma’s 19 – Griffith 28
Try Scorers: Jasmine Joyce (3)
Conversions: Jones (2/3)
The University of Adelaide Roma’s vs University of Melbourne
The Roma’s final fixture of day 1 was against Melbourne University. The side has a strong 2019 record against the Victorians and were looking to keep that intact. They did so, defeating them 33-0 and ensuring they ended an at times difficult day on a positive note.
The tone for the comprehensive victory was set from the kick-off, with captain d’Arcy Sadler taking the Melbourne kick with ease and passing to Karpani, who took down all before her in the Melbourne defence and ran the length of the field, before laying off. Unfortunately, this incredible solo effort was not rewarded with a try, as the ball could not be grounded. However, the momentum was well and truly with the Roma’s off the back of it.
Melbourne switched across the field where they again encountered Karpani, who this time exhibited her defensive prowess, performing a strong tackle which resulted in a turnover. Lee quickly took possession and found none other then Joyce, who inevitably made a break and scored her first try. d’Arcy Sadler made no mistake with the conversion and the Roma’s were off to a flyer, leading 7-0.
Melbourne were unable to take clean possession from the kick-off, and a Roma’s line out resulted. The set piece was again excellent, and Lauren Potter broke the line and found Joyce, who this time played provided to Sadler. The captain duly converted her own try from an exceptionally tight angle, and the Roma’s doubled their advantage to 14-0.
The Roma’s were challenged defensively for the first time after they were penalised at the kick-off, which didn’t travel the required distance. Melbourne surged forward and looked certain to score, before a crucial 1 on 1 tackle from Sadler halted their momentum. They then switched play but only as far as Karpani, who again forced a turnover with her tackle.
After multiple phases without significant gain, the ball again found it’s way to Karpani, who capped an exceptional opening period by twice fending off Melbourne defenders, standing up in a third opponents attempted tackle and laying off the ball to Lee, who sped off under the posts. Sadler’s third successful conversion ended the half, with the Roma’s leading by three converted tries.
Melbourne again got possession from a penalty at the kick-off, and again looked like they had found a hole in the Roma’s defence only to be stopped in their tracks by captain Sadler, who’s tackle resulted in a turnover. From her own line, Murphy then weaved through the defence and sprinted away. Having covered 3 quarters of the field, Murphy unselfishly offloaded to support runner Joyce, who went over for her second. The conversion was missed, but the lead stretched to 26-0.
The kick-off was dropped but Melbourne briefly recovered possession, before the tight Roma’s defence forced yet another mistake and turnover. The ball invariably found its way into Joyce’s possession, and like clockwork she found a gap in the defence, and scored, completing her second hat-trick of the day. Sadler duly converted, before her and Joyce came to the bench for a well-earned rest, with the score at 33-0.
The remainder of the game was played in the Melbourne half, and multiple times they looked like scoring their first points of the fixture. However, the Roma’s defence was watertight, and it was clear they had set themselves the challenge of keeping their opponents scoreless. They succeeded in this endeavour, and finished day 1 in an exceptional manner.
Final Score: Roma’s 33 – Melbourne University 0
Tries: Jasmine Joyce (3), Zara Lee (1), d’Arcy Sadler (1)
Conversions: d’Arcy Sadler: (3/5)
The University of Adelaide Roma’s vs The University of Western Australia
The Roma’s will rue a sluggish start after they suffered a narrow 26-19 loss at the hands of the University of Western Australia.
The girls started slowly and were duly punished by the well organised Western Australians. They conceded the first three tries of the match to trail 19-0 at the midpoint of the first half.
It took a moment of individual brilliance to spark the Roma’s into life. This came from Australian Representative Murphy, who took the ball from the kick-off and gained significant meres before being brought down in her own half. She then received the ball back and ran the remainder of the field to score. The try was subsequently converted by Jones, and the Roma’s pulled it back to 19-7.
From there, it was a different Roma’s side, who combined fierce determination and exceptional skill to haul themselves back into the contest. From the kick-off, Jones kicked the ball exactly the required ten metres, and the quick-thinking Murphy executed a clean take to win possession. From there, the ball was switched from one side of the field to the other, eventually into the hands of Karpani. The two defenders in her way of her proved little object to her, as she stormed her way through and scored. The conversion was missed, but the score was now 19-12 and the Roma’s now surging on the back of some serious momentum.
The half time break followed, but the girls returned with the same sense of purpose. Jones kicked off deep into attacking territory and the Roma’s pinned WA in their own half. Their persistence was rewarded with an opposition error, with resulted in a Roma’s line out. The set piece was again immaculate, and the ball fell to Jones who quickly moved it onto Joyce, who obliged with her first try of the day, and seventh of the weekend. Jones converted and scores were level.
In such an important fixture for both sides, the intensity lifted and the desperation was evident for all to see. What resulted was a period of fantastic play for the neutral, as both teams refused to give an inch and defended stoutly. Western Australia kept possession for a number of phases, and despite their best efforts the tired Roma’s defence eventually gave away a penalty, setting up a quick tap and try for the visitors. It was converted, and 26-19 is how the scores finished. A gallant Roma’s effort, but ultimately they left themselves too much to do in the matches early stages.
Final Score: The University of Adelaide Roma’s 19 – University of Western Australia 26
Tries: Mahalia Murphy, Eva Karpani, Jasmine Joyce
Conversions: Hannah Jones (2/3)
The University of Adelaide Roma’s vs Bond University
The weekend reached its business end as the Roma’s faced Bond for a place in the 5th place playoff. Bond started with position but were pinned well inside their own half for several phases. They thought they had found a way through only for Joyce to show off her talents extend to defensive efforts, as she executed a 1 on 1 tackle to halt the thrust forward. Eventually, with few alternate options, Bond kicked into touch and conceded possession on the halfway line.
The ball was temporarily lost after another excellent line out, but Potter ensured that possession was won back and instigated a move forward. The ball went through several hands before finding Joyce in an all too familiar wide position. She duly sprinted towards the line and the defender’s efforts were in vain as she opened the scoring. The conversion was missed, but the Roma’s led 5-0.
Bond made strong progress from the kick-off but the tireless work of Nathan and Jones in defence twice thwarted promising Bond thrusts forward. Eventually, the Roma’s strong defence was rewarded with a scrum deep in their own half.
A routine scrum victory was capitalised on by Potter, who moved the ball forward with strong intent. However, the Queensland outfit were up for the challenge and their defence held for an extended period. Eventually, much to the frustration of the home crowd, a penalty was given away, handing Bond prime field position.
Desperate defence from Jones momentarily halted the oppositions attacking raid, but her efforts unfortunately could not keep Bond from scoring. In a near replica of the first try, the Queenslanders found an overlap runner on the right and went over. Again the kick was missed, but Bond’s ascendancy was clear and replicated on the scoreboard. They led 10-5 at the break.
Nathan received the kick-off to start the second half and immediately broke the opposition line, making 20 metres and handing the positional advantage to the home side. From there, Murphy made her presence felt and received consecutive penalties, the second of which she took the quick tap and scored, to level the contest. Jones made no mistake with the conversion, and the Roma’s re-took the lead.
Bond desperately looked for an avenue of attack, but they were met with a Roma’s wall, and any attempt at progress up the ground was futile. After several exceptional defensive efforts, with Jones particularly strong, Joyce won a penalty. Unfortunately, the ball was then lost near the line. However, the smarts of Karpani were on full display, as she stole the ball from Bond and crashed over to give the Roma’s a 17-10 lead.
Bond kept possession for the remainder of the match and threatened several times to break through and level proceedings. The Roma’s, however, simply wouldn’t allow this to happen, and met every challenge threw at them. Eventually, Joyce stole the ball and kicked it dead into a raucous home crowd, concluding the match.
Final Score: Roma’s 17- Bond University 10
Tries: Jasmine Joyce, Mahalia Murphy, Eva Karpani
Conversions: Hannah Jones (1/3)
The University of Adelaide Roma’s vs University of Technology Sydney
Another long kick off from Jones started proceedings, and UTS looked to immediately go on the attack. However, several strong defensive phases and impressive work at the breakdown halted their progress, and Murphy eventually executed a tackle which resulted in a loss of possession and turnover. Taking the quick tap, Murphy took on four defenders and offloaded to Joyce, who looked on her way to a certain try until she was illegally tackled, resulting in a UTS yellow card and giving the Roma’s possession 5 metres from the line.
After strong runs from several girls, the ball was eventually worked into the hands of Joyce, who found space and crossed for the first of the game, much to the delight of her adoring adopted home crowd. Nathan took the conversion from an acute angle and made no mistake, and again the crowd rose as the Roma’s took an early 7-0 lead.
In increasingly windy conditions, UTS dropped the ball from the kick-off and knocked on, giving the Roma’s a scrum in prime field position. Keeping with the theme of the weekend, the set piece was well executed and the Roma’s switched the ball to a waiting Joyce, who again showed off her lighting speed and made 25 metres, before being brought down agonisingly short of the try line. Play was switched and the Roma’s created an overlap in Nathan, who sliced through the defence and scored. The conversion was missed, but the Roma’s had a 12-0 lead and significant momentum.
Another strong Jones kick-off had UTS on the back foot, before a penalty on the halfway line gave them their first attacking look of the fixture. Unfortunately for the Roma’s, they took advantage of the rare opportunity and executed a precise play to send a runner through the defence and score. The conversion was good, and the Roma’s only led by 5 at the break, a margin not befitting of the dominance of the opening period.
The Roma’s worries were further compounded when they lost possession shortly after the kick-off the start the second half. UTS took advantage of the strong field position and again found a hole in defence, racing over to score under the posts. The simple conversion was successful, and from nowhere the visitors had established a 14-12 lead.
Buoyed by the enthusiastic crowd and finishing position on offer, the remainder of the game turned into a frenzied end to end spectacle, as both sides extracted those last precious reserves of energy in pursuit of a positive finish to the weekend. The Roma’s kicked this passage off by finding the dangerous Karpani, who took the defence wrong and created a gap for Potter, who scored. Jones converted and the Roma’s were ahead by 5, 19-14.
UTS responded with a surge forward, and despite some desperate efforts in defence, the Roma’s simply couldn’t keep their visitors out. They again converted and led 21-14 with only a couple of minutes remaining.
The UTS re-start didn’t travel the required 10, and the Roma’s were handed a penalty on halfway. It was clear they were looking for Joyce in search of a matchwinner. After several phases, they found her, and she made what would prove to be her final break of the weekend and scored the sealing try. Nathan’s conversion was off-line, but the Roma’s has inched to lead by 3.
Murphy combined great courage and skill to win the ball at the kick-off, but it was unfortunately soon lost. UTS surged desperately in the hope of coming from behind once more, but the Roma’s desperation held them out. Eventually, the ball spilled out and Murphy kicked it dead. A magnificent spectacle, and the Roma’s ended their home round on a high.
Final Score: Roma’s 24 v University of Technology, Sydney 21
Try Scorers: Jasmine Joyce (2), Brianna Nathan (1) Lauren Potter (1)
Conversions: Brianna Nathan (1/2), Hannah jones (1/2)