The University of Adelaide Roma’s travelled to Pittwater, Sydney to finalise their squad preparations ahead of the 2019 Aon Universities Sevens Series.
The red eye flight at 6.00am on the Saturday and a flight delay made preparation time limited for the Roma’s. In a crazy rush, our physio Lauren Sebastiani from SmartHealth started strapping ankles and shoulders on the bus.
We hopped straight off the bus and jumped right into the warm up for Game 1 against the home team the Warringah Rats.
After a rushed warm up and less than ideal preparation we started our campaign on a back field. We expected a very wet pitch after all the Sydney rain, but the sandy field just drained it out and we had a good surface to play on, despite no lines being marked.
Game 1 v Warringah
After a start without the ball we managed to gain possession against the flow of play. A steal in a ruck by d’Arcy Sadler gave us our first genuine possession, where the ball was moved wide to Jasmine Joyce who got first points for the weekend after a 60m run. After a bout of organised defence, we turned the ball over again and went wide to the duo of Lauren Potter and Ellie Konopka executing a set play to score another 60m try.
To start the second half, Warringah had a short kick off giving us possession on the 50m line. Moving the ball right to left through numerous sets of hands set up d’Arcy Sadler for a try after a rapid step evading three tackles for the run away.
The next score came quickly after a set up from Kelly Rowe and Alice Gregory, where three players were pulled into the contact area, leaving Maddy Smith on the left edge to stride out and score a try.
Warringah had then made a break after busting three of our would be tacklers to run away with the ball to our 5m line. Lauren Kildare made a classy sweeping cover tackle and repeat effort to deny the Rats their first try. They however caught us short at the ruck, scoring their first try 5m out from the uprights from a pick and go.
Kelly Rowe was pulled up agonisingly short after a 50m break where the Warringah winger showed extreme pace to tackle our speedy halfback. A crunching tackle by Courtney Munroe forcing a knock off finished the match.
Final score: Roma’s 28 v 7 Warringah
Try scorers: Jasmine Joyce, d’Arcy Sadler. Lauren Potter, Brianna Nathan
Conversions: Jasmine Joyce, d’Arcy Sadler. Lauren Potter, Brianna Nathan
Game 2 v Sydney University Development
A pinpoint kick off from Lilly Rydon saw us gain back possession immediately from the kick off as the ball went unclaimed by the Sydney Uni Development side. Lauren Meyer pounced and a transfer to the edge across all hands ended with Alice Gregory outpacing her opponent to score the first of the match. Our second kick off didn’t go to plan however, falling short of the 10m mark giving Sydney Uni possession. Sydney transferred the ball across the field and got on our edge, Kildare then came in with a sublime angle to chop down the Sydney winger, popping back to her feet to gain a turnover, quickly taking the tap and catching the Sydney team offside to give us a couple more meters breathing space.
After a couple of phases, Alisha Butchers made a break down the middle, giving a quick offload to Ellie Konopka who threw a pinpoint 20m pass to Gregory striding away to score. Restarting the play, we gained possession back after a knock on by the Sydney side giving us a scrum in a favourable possession. Unfortunately we were cut short from a good interplay with the half time being called immediately at the seven minute mark.
Our first possession for the second half came through a turnover in a ruck by Gregory, we shifted the ball immediately to the edge for Joyce to score a long range try. We again stole the ball in a counter ruck, shifting it wide but unfortunately a forward pass stopped our momentum and a scrum to Sydney was awarding. Through pressure at the base of the scrum by Rowe, we were able to gain back possession. Moving the ball to the edge, Brianna Nathan linked up with Joyce for a try through the centre of the field and under the post.
A forward pass from Sydney after the kick, gave us another scrum within their half. A clean feed and hands across the backline to Maddy Smith.
Final score: Roma’s 36 v 0 Sydney University Development
Try scorers: Alice Gregory (2), Jasmine Joyce (2), Maddy Smith, Ellie Konopka
Conversions: Brianna Nathan, Lilly Rydon (2)
Game 3 v University of Canberra 1
Our first game on the main pitch was against one of our Aon UNI7s opponents, the University of Canberra. An unclaimed kick off by Canberra allowed us to gain possession immediately through Joyce, setting up an attacking play.
We then conceded a penalty when the ball was kicked up the field for a lineout. After a couple of phases we managed to gain possession as Ellie Konopka was passed the ball by a opposing player. A strong ball carry from both Butchers and Nathan allowed us to create space on the edge for Joyce to score her first for the match.
A knock on a the kick off by Canberra then gave us back possession where we moved the ball wide to Joyce immediately. In an amazing solo effort, she busted three would be tacklers, her jersey was pulled off in the process and once she broke clear, she put the jersey back on and then scored the try.
Another possession from the kick off to the Roma’s allowed for a quick interplay and another try to Joyce within 20 seconds of the kick, a good way to conclude the first half.
Starting the second half strongly, Nathan took the ball to the line and was untouched as she evaded two defenders to run 50m to score her first of the match. After the long range try, she was subbed off much to her enjoyment and relief.
Rachel Crothers from Canberra, kept testing out our sweeping defence with a couple kicks in and through the line to turn us around, on both occasions Kildare and Joyce were on the ball to ensure we didn’t allow a break. However a penalty at the breakdown gave Canberra possession and allowed them to push over for a pick and drive close into the ruck.
An error at the kick off gave us possession back stopping Canberra’s momentum, but unfortunately a knock on meant we couldn’t capitalise on our opportunity. Another kick by Crothers giving away possession put the balls in Kildare’s hands, however a mistimed pass and a knock to her chin put the ball in Canberra’s hands for a runaway try.
Final score: Roma’s 28 v 12 University of Canberra
Try scorers: Jasmine Joyce (3), Brianna Nathan
Conversions: Jasmine Joyce (3), Brianna Nathan
Game 4 v University of Canberra 2
After receiving the ball at the kick off the Roma’s made a error giving the ball to the Canberra side for a scrum 35m out from our own try line. Not doing ourselves any favours, we conceded another penalty for offside, but fortunately a forward pass by Canberra gave us the ball within our half. This followed our first attacking raid of the game, where Butchers broke a tackle and passed the ball wide to her Welsh counterpart Joyce for the first try of the match.
Starting the second half, a short kick by us gave Canberra easy possession on the halfway line. Our defensive line held and we got possession back and after a well-executed switch Lauren Meyer made a break centre field, but was pulled up short of the try line.
Canberra then gained possession and moved the ball to the edge, were Maddy Smith channelled her Ultimate frisbee skills for an intercept and an easy try.
Next up, Canberra made a solid break with good support to score in the corner which was the final play of the match.
Final score: Roma’s 19 v 7 University of Canberra
Try scorers: Jasmine Joyce (2), Maddy Smith
Conversions: Jasmine Joyce (2)
Game 5 v Southern Districts Rebelettes
The final of the Shute Shield Sevens went as planned for our dedicated sponsors Workplace Law, as they had a ‘we can’t lose final’ as both team’s were representing the brand.
After a tight affair in the first half, plenty of changes in possession, it was Olivia White from the Rebelette’s who evaded one tackle and scored the first try of the match. After the kick off we gained some much needed momentum with a break from butchers down the centre of the field. However, White jumped on the ball at the back of a ruck which was followed by a kick for territory and consequently a mistake from the Roma’s giving Souths critical field possession. Another tussle of possession in our own half rounded out the first half of the match, where an error riddled performance stopped us from moving our way up the field of play.
Nathan started off the proceedings for the second half of the match, where the Rebelette’s moved possession wide to their speeders, and after a couple of phases they kicked away possession straight to Joyce, who broke a number of tackles to accelerate through and score under the posts for the Roma’s first points of the match. Now at level score at 7-7, we had a game on our hands.
Kicking the ball to the powerful White, proved to be a poor option, as she broke a number of tackles and the Rebelette’s shifted the ball wide, however solid cover defence pushed the attacking side to the sideline and resulted in a Roma’s throw into the lineout.
The throw of the lineout went to hand, and the ball was moved across the field with a double touch to Nathan setting up Joyce on the edge for a footrace between herself and two of the opposing speedsters, showing her raw pace Joyce strided away to score her second of the match taking the score to 14 points to 7.
The Roma’s then restarted play with a kick off, once again to White, proving again to be a poor option. But a forward pass gave us back possession, where we moved the ball across the field to where butchers pulled the defenders, opening up space on the inside for Rowe to stride away to score and seal up the match.
Final score: Roma’s 19 v 7 Southern Districts Rebelette’s
Try scorers: Jasmine Joyce (2), Kelly Rowe
Conversions: Jasmine Joyce (2), d’Arcy Sadler
Congratulations to the Rebelette’s who took out the overall series for the Shute Shield Sevens after finishing up clear winners on top of the series table.
The Roma’s took out the final round of the series gaining them 22 competition points for the Series (for our once off appearance) and claiming our first silverware of the 2019 season.