Old Boys-University’s quest to defend the Swindale Shield got off to a flying start in their season opener today at Awakairangi Park, beating Poneke 55-10.
It was a comprehensive performance from the Billy Goats who dominated all over the field, and the result will reaffirm their status as one of the teams to beat in the 2018 competition.
Teariki Ben-Nicholas was one of the standouts, scoring two tries in a performance where he was a handful carrying the ball. Tries also came from all three front-rowers – Finnbarr Kerr-Newell, Zeke Sopoaga and Jonathon Fuimaono – while Gavin Parker, Izzy Foai, Wirangi Parata and Maile Koloto also crossed the whitewash.
It was Ben-Nicholas who started the scoring after OBU won several penalties. Instead of taking the easy three points, the Billy Goats instead decided to pack a scrum and Ben-Nicholas did the rest, barging his way over from five metres out.
OBU’s dominance continued until referee Mike Pinfold was forced to dig into his pocket and send Poneke flanker Jonty Miller to the sin bin for repeated infringements. Almost immediately following, OBU spread the ball wide through their backline and Gavin Parker finished off the move to make it 12-0.
Parker was involved again as Kerr-Newell dotted down in the left corner after receiving a great offload, though Miller would soon return to the field and mark his restoration with Poneke’s first try of the afternoon.
Up 17-5 at half time, the Goats made quick work to increase their lead through Fuimaono who crashed over just a minute into the second forty, earning OBU their four-try bonus point.
Sopoaga and Foai recorded tries of their own in similar fashion, charging through multiple defenders on their way over the line as OBU’s lead stretched out to 36-5.
Poneke’s Greg Foe found his way through the OBU defense from close range, though it was all OBU after that as the Goats ran in a further three tries to round out a comprehensive season opener.
It was a very well-rounded performance from OBU whose set piece operated well on almost every occasion. The backline got plenty of quality ball to work with and the midfield of Greg Mullany, Koloto and substitute Foai benefited greatly.
The Billy Goats now look forward to next weekend where they will take on Wainuiomata for the Peter Dunford Cup at William Jones Park.
In other matches the Premier Reserves went down to Poneke 44 – 19, the woman were on the wrong side of the scoreboard in their friendly against Kia Toa. The colts shared a victory each in their warm up games against Wellington College, with College regaining the Lettica Cup.