The OBU Impalas were tested yesterday, losing 38-17 to Marist St Pats in the first hit-out of the season.
Marist St Pats took advantage of their young talent and especially speedy backline from the first whistle. They broke the Impalas line on a few occasions, but made the most of the opportunity when it came, scoring three impressive tries early in the match.
A few handling errors did no favours for the Impalas backline but with guidance and advice from their vice-captain Montana Heslop at number 10, things started to fall back together and the rewards soon followed. Left-wing Jess Offen, one of the Impalas newest recruits, had the pace on her opposing defender and managed to score the first try of the season.
Marist St Pats managed to find the line again, and again early on in the second half. That, however, did not shake the women in green. Impala’s Georgia Scott was so fired up she pushed hard and fast on her opposition, taking little notice that she was offside. A yellow-card ensued.
Impala’s right-wing Laura Phillips scored a cracker in the right-hand corner, supported by Anna Darling on her inside.
At the kick-off Captain Emma Hopoi shouted, “Leave it all on the field, I don’t want to hear about what you should’ve done, look at your sisters, who you got?”
Momentum for the team was building. After another try from MSP, the Impalas quickly fought back. A penalty close to the try-line saw the Impala’s half-back Tawny Burgess pass a pearler to Chloe Te Moananui out wide, who scored the final try of the match.
The Impala’s were no doubt tested in the first match of the season, but they proved a team with half the size of their opposition, could not be shaken easily.
A special thanks would like to be extended to the captains of the Premier Men’s, Jonathan Fuimaono and Tomasi Pulu, who met the Impalas before the match. They reminded the team about what Old Boys University stands for: A rugby culture of family, of support, and of a legacy upheld by more than one hundred women who had worn the Impalas jersey since 2001.
Those words were not taken lightly, and will guide the team throughout the season.