The University of Adelaide Roma’s have produced a strong performance in the final round of the Aon UNI7s series for 2019. Much like their 2018 campaign, the Roma’s finished undefeated throughout the pool matches to secure 1st in the pool and a top four birth. Once again, we just fell short of the Uni of Qld in a Semi Final, and in the bronze medal match were outdone in the final second of the game to narrowly miss out on the first medal in the programs three-year history.
Labelled ‘the form team’ coming into the final round was a fitting title for the Roma’s who scored 120 points and only let in 33 throughout the pool matches, finishing top of the table with a maximum 12 competition points. This set the team up for their first top four appearance against the University of UQ, who to date the Roma’s are yet to taste victory against. Narrowly losing the match 19 – 21 the Roma’s then progressed through to the Bronze medal match, which was a tight affair. Each team responding with try’s until the 14th minute where the ball was in play for an additional 3 minutes with possession being tossed between teams. Canberra received a penalty and played it quickly, putting a chip through to regather and score under the posts, a tight tussle which could of gone either way in the end. Congratulations must go to the Canberra side, as they have finished with two medal placings, challenging the traditional strongholds of Rugby 7s in Australia.
As a result of the fourth placing the Roma’s secured a further 14 points to the overall series table, which resulted in a surge past the University of Technology Sydney, but falling four points short of Canberra resulting in an overall fifth place finish from ten teams in this year’s series.
Game 1 v University of Canberra (UC)
The Roma’s commenced the match with a kick down the throat of Aussie 7s star Sharni Williams, Canberra moved the ball across the field with the Roma’s defence holding strong while Canberra played their edge to edge style of rugby. Dawa, Canberra’s speedster tried to take on Eva Karpani on the edge with not much luck running the ball out into touch in a classical coach killer. Pelite then grabbed the ball and proceeded with a quick throw to Alisha Butchers. Possession was short lived, as Bree Nathan evaded three defenders to run into two UC players resulting in a forced turnover in the opening minute of the match. In what was predicted the UC moved the ball to the edge again where a stray pass not going to hand gave the Roma’s a lineout within our own 22m line. Pelite elected for the scrum to set up our first genuine attacking raid, however the ball went to ground and Mahalia Murphy jumped on the loose ball and did her best to exit our red zone, this was the followed by a solid palm to a UC player from Pelite who continued to make meters up field. The ball was then carried forward again by Murphy and then slung out wide to the Roma’s speedster Gregory who was unable to get around her defender and played the ball back on the inside. A relieving penalty coming moments later courtesy of UC’s Williams allowed us to speed up play and gain some valuable meters, making our way to the 50m line courtesy of Pelite, Gregory and Murphy. Pelite then kicked through as she wasn’t given any other options, giving the ball back to UC, who sent the ball out wide. Nathan slipped off one tackle, but in typical fashion, she got right back up and came out of no where to smash the defender. Having forward momentum, UC looked to move it wide, but they spotted an over track in midfield defence and stepped back on the inside to make their first line break down the field and score under the posts.
Play was restarted by Williams, who kicked short giving the Roma’s a penalty on the 50m mark, running down field we received a penalty for a high tackle and Pelite took it quickly, giving it to a rampaging Karpani who shrugged off a tackle then was chopped down by UC’s Williams. Pelite then arrived quickly and passed the ball to Butchers who threw a cut out pass to Gregory who went over the chaulk on the left edge. Nathan then got the ball 3m out from the sideline, in one of the hardest points on the field to kick, but she kicked it right over the posts but only received a low five from stand in assistant coach d’Arcy Sadler. Half time followed with a score of 7 all.
The second half started with a UC kick down to Butchers, who evaded three and gained a quick penalty to restart the match. The ball was spread to Pelite with a couple offloaded making the way down the field, possession was lost in a pass but was quickly gained back with Potter jumping over a ruck for a forced turnover. This didn’t last long as Mason-Spice from Canberra jumped on an unsupported Roma gaining a penalty, taken quickly they run into Pelite, who again gained a penalty for the Roma’s. Nathan took it quickly and passed to Jones, who carried a number of players with her. Nathan then looked up and darted around the ruck noticing Canberra’s lazy defence, a little dummy was sold to UC and Nathan run in under the posts for the Roma’s second try of the match. Converted by Nathan. Restarting play, Jones kicked deep and luckily UC’s player didn’t know the laws, not placing the ball down in their own ingoal, running it out of their 10m zone. UC moved the ball again to the edge where it was Dawa from Canberra against Gregory, where Gregory got her hand stuck in the locks of Dawa and a yellow card followed, reducing the Roma’s to six players on the field. UC moved the ball across field attacking the channel of Pelite and Butchers, Pelite threw the UC player to ground and Butchers jumped on the ball and gained possession back for the Roma’s. A knock on in the ruck from UC gave us a scrum midfield in the 22m of the hosts try line. Pelite and Nathan came from the field after a big stint and Konopka and Meyer entered play. The Roma’s shifted the ball to the right through a strong carry by Murphy, followed by a short run off the ruck from Butchers. The Roma’s gained another penalty by UC playing the ball on the ground, the ball was the passed to midfield and then taken into contact and shifted to the edge where Ellie Konopka went over in the corner. Roma’s restarted play but possession didn’t last long for UC as Murphy jumped on a ruck to gain another turnover, the ball was thrown to Konopka, who evaded one defender but the pass didn’t get to hand. Luckily UC were caught offside and the Roma’s retained possession. Moving the ball to the edge of the field, a quick ruck was set and the ball passed back to the midfield, where the combination of Potter and Konopka linked up to go over for the fourth try of the match. Jones knocked the ball over the back dot and the Roma’s finished the match with a strong performance and a 19 point win.
Final Score: Roma’s 26 v 07 Uni Canberra
Try: Alice Gregory (1), Brianna Nathan (1), Ellie Konopka (1), Lauren Potter (1)
Conversions: Brianna Nathan (2/2), Hannah Jones (1/2)
Game 2 v University of Sydney (USYD)
The second match of the tournament was up against the USYD, who the Roma’s are yet to taste victory against, but this match was a little different.
USYD commenced the match with a kick right to Jones who made a strong run upfield creating momentum for the Roma’s, we then moved the ball the Karpani who made a break down the middle of the field after running over one of the USYD defenders. A basketball pass over the top of a USYD player by Rowe set up Gregory for a run to the line, but was dragged down by a USYD defender and pulled up centimetres short of the try line. A miss pass in our attack saw the ball go to ground, but Jones picked it up and run around two defenders to score the first try of the match, and she converted her try. The ball was in the try scorers hands for the kick off which went into USYD’s 22m line, the player ran straight into Butchers and she ripped the ball away in contact and distributed out wide to Gregory who put her head down and carried to ball forward, momentum was stopped as we played the ball on the ground, giving an easy possession to USYD. They elected to kick as predicted. USYD’s winger managed to draw in two Roma’s defenders and a quick play at the ruck saw them run blind and outpace Kaparni, it wasn’t made easy for them as Rowe kept them to the sideline resulting in a missed conversion. USYD restarted play and kicked deep, we moved the ball across field where Jones cut through the USYD defence and made it to the attacking 40m line where she popped the ball up perfectly in space for a speedy Gregory to snatch out of mid air and run in under the posts untouched. Jones then converted from in front taking the score to 14 -5. The next kick from the Roma’s went deep enough to go into the USYD try line, the Roma’s defence was aware of the opportunity and rushed up to trap them within 5m of their own line. As a result they put in a midfield kick to exit which went just past the 22m line where Bree Nathan was ready to pick up the ball. Unfortunately a strong chase on the kick left Nathan isolated at the ruck and Wallaroos Skipper Hamilton gained a penalty for their efforts. A one footed tackle by Rowe brought Hamilton down and Butchers was on top of the ball to gain another turnover. In the last play of the match, butchers called to kick the ball out, resulting in a horrible grubber kick that nearly stayed in the field on play. Half time followed.
The Roma’s started with ball in hand with Jones starting off the second half. USYD replied with a run down centre field stopped by sweeper Nathan, in an amazing effort Nathan jumped up and made the next tackle on the USYD ball carrier, where Jones was ready for the Steal. Roma’s had the ball in hand again and butchers ran to the sideline, running out of room she threw the ball over her head which made its way back in field to Murphy, who was tackled (not released) and the ball was stripped from her, in an effort to regain possession the Roma’s knocked the ball on giving a centre field scrum to Sydney. Sydney had two phases off the scrum, where they then looked to kick through the line. The wind took the ball over the sideline for a Roma’s throw, giving a break in play Pelite was put on the field for the remaining minutes of the second half. As the Roma’s started their next attacking phase, USYD were caught offside giving an easy gain in field positioning. Jones took the tap and straightened, offloaded to Nathan who was on the end of a hair pull, giving Sydney a yellow card for the next two minutes of play. Pelite took the quick tap and drew in three players to set Gregory free down the outside, unfortunately pulled up short and the pop from the ground was intercepted by the Sydney side. Pelite then applied pressure to the halfback gaining back the ball which was moved across the field to potter on the edge. Butchers then got the ball back on the inside to step three players to go in under the posts.
Restarting play the Roma’s kicked down field and Pelite raced to make the tackle on the receiver, they set a ruck and then the first receiver knocked on the ball, where the Roma’s pounced to gain back possession. Play was temporarily suspended as the Yellow Carded player made her way back onto the field without permission. Restarting play, Pelite had the ball in her hands and made a mid-field switch to Konopka who cut through the line and was chased down, Butchers then dummied from the halfback position and went in for her second try under the posts. The Roma’s kicked the ball midfield to USYD who had 5 phases of play, making their way down field whilst the Roma’s defence held strong. A wave of increased pressured followed from the Roma’s resulting in a knock on by USYD, leaving 10 seconds on the clock. The scrum was packed down and we gained a penalty for illegal scrummaging, Pelite took the penalty quickly and made a break, passing to Potter who kicked the ball out ending the match with the Roma’s running out with a convincing win of 26 points to 5.
Final Score: Roma’s 26 v 05 University of Sydney
Try: Hannah Jones (1), Alice Gregory (1), Alisha Butchers (2)
Conversions: Hannah Jones (2/2), Bree Nathan (1/2)
Game 3 v University of Melbourne (UM)
The final match of the day, after the bye round was against the UM. The Roma’s started with an immediate error off the kick off where the ball was touched and rolled into touch. The UM took the lineout and applied a good press in defence to take away 20m of territory from the UM side. An aggressive Roma’s defence kept pushing UM back resulting in a turnover at the hands of Jones, who broke a tackle and run away to score the first try under the posts. Lauren Meyer then raced 50m for her traditional High Five post try. Jones restarted play with a kick into UM’s 22m line where it bounced into touch, UM moved the ball wide and made a line break courtesy of some poor defence by the Roma’s. Gregory then made the chase and tackle, where UM tried to keep up the high tempo of the game. A pass didn’t go to hand and Jones put the boot in and moved the ball downfield. Jones provided chase and overran the ball fooling the UM Defender, whilst Meyer was behind play and picked the ball up and headed for the corner, outpacing one would be tackler she scored under the posts and Jones converted.
Replicating her previous kick Jones bounced the ball in the 22m and over the sideline. UM won their lineout and then proceeded to kick the ball midfield, where Gregory picked the ball up and pinned the ears back running the ball to the try line. Jones had a hard task getting the ball over the black dot from the edge, but a she hit a sweet point on the ball, and it sailed over the vertical to add another two points to the Roma’s tally.
Jones restarted play but this time kicked down to a UM player, they moved the ball to the centre of the field where a line break was made in a circumstance where neither Roma looked to make a tackle, Kildare provided chase but was unable to bring down the UM runner, pushing her wide of the posts. UM restarted play with a kick down to Konopka, who passed onto Karpani who ran to the middle of the field evading 3 players and sped away for a try under the posts. Jones converted to rounding out the half, and taking the score 26 points to 5 in favour of the Roma’s.
Kildare restarted play with a kick downfield to UM which just passed the 10m line. UM threw the ball wide but defence held strong under the UM #9 made a break downfield, followed by a number of offloads in contact UM gained momentum down the field and then broke free with only the try line in sight. Murphy came out of no-where and managed to stop the UM player from grounding the ball, resulting in a scrum to UM 5m out. UM won their own ball and moved to ball wide, where Gregory stopped any momentum. A tackle by Rowe put the UM player down and Konopka jumped on the supported player to gain a penalty and relieve pressure on the Roma’s. The quick tap was taken and passed twice where Butchers hit a great line and broke two tackles for a line break. She sped down field looking over her shoulder for a defender and seeming like she wanted to shift the pass to Murphy in support. Butchers kept the pace and run 80m to score under the posts for her first try of the match. The kick off from Kildare went over the UM players, pushing them further into their own 22m zone. After a penalty awarded to UM they made a break down the middle of the field, and they were forced to pass by Kildare in sweeper. The pass went to ground and was deemed a knock on by the referee. Scrum to Roma’s, where the referee called it back twice for the ball coming out of the same hole, where it evidently went through the props feet. The scrum was reset and UM made a mess of it for the halfback Rowe, who shovelled the ball out which was passed across to Gregory who recklessly tackled by the defence, and was show a yellow card for her efforts. The penalty was taken by Kildare and the ball was passed out to the edge which the Roma’s player was isolated and the ball was stolen by UM. Two phases later Murphy was over the ball and managed to scoop up a loose placement by UM. Murphy evading 4 tacklers, she broke free and made a run down the edge where a pass was knocked in the tackle, giving Roma’s another scrum just outside the 22m line. Konopka then took the ball from first receiver and evaded one tackler and pass the ball to Gregory, which was deemed forward. The Roma’s won the scrum against the feed thanks to Meyer and was quickly delivered by Rowe to Konopka who drew the only Melbourne defender and passed to Kildare who went over untouched. Kildare converted her own try to take the score to 42 points to 5 in favour of the Roma’s.
Final Score: Roma’s 42 v 05 University of Melbourne
Try: Hannah Jones (1), Lauren Meyer (1), Alice Gregory (1), Eva Karpani (1), Alisha Butchers (1), Kildare (1)
Conversions: Hannah Jones (3/4), Lauren Kildare (2/2)