Trinity 34pts Oxford University 3pts – March 18th 2015

Trinity hosted their annual Challenge match with Oxford University on Wednesday afternoon in beautiful sunshine in College Park.

Trinity, who have been playing well of late, welcomed the Dark Blues who were entering the match with a record breaking result against their old rivals Cambridge. Due to injury they had only ten of that squad on the pitch yesterday.

The hosts started the game strongly taking the visitors through multiple phases. They gained a penalty and from the resulting line out scrum half Angus Lloyd broke through to put his half back partner Tommy Whittle in for the first score. Whittle unfortunately had to leave the game with a hamstring strain off this play. So the home team had to re-shuffle the backs –  full back Conor Kearns went to out half and Jack Fitzpatrick moved to full back.Trinity continued to dominate most of the possession but were making unforced errors on the ball. Oxford looked dangerous on the break and from one of these breaks they gained a penalty to pull the score back to 7-3.

The Dublin Students scored a penalty of their own later in the half, but were clearly struggling to get their game going against a sticky Oxford defence. 10-3 at half time Oxford must have been very happy to still be in touch going on the run of play.

In the Second half it was more of the same, the home team tended to force things that resulted in turning the ball over.

The game turned in the home teams’ favour. From some good continuity featuring Prop Andy Keating and hooker Jack Boland carrying strongly up the right hand side of the field, the ball was then moved quickly wide left through Brian Slater, Conor Kearns with Michael Courtney putting  wing Tim Maupin in for a well constructed try. Oxford came back after this score to mount some serious pressure on the Trinity line but the home team defended stoutly to keep the Dark Blues out, in what was the only real pressure they faced all game.

Trinity were now finding their rhythm and they piled on their own pressure. They continued to attack from all over the field. After several phases down the right hand sideline, Conor Kearns cross kicked to his left wing Killian O’ Leary who was totally free out wide, the ball took an unfortunate bounce, but O’Leary did well to reclaim the ball and pass to his captain Paddy Lavelle in support.  Lavelle took it to the line before returning the ball back to O’Leary who finished the score.

It was then time for flanker Brian Du Toit to show his sidestepping skills, when he avoided the ‘would be’ tacklers with a ridiculous step to coast in under the posts.

Trinity were now in full flow, and going through all their moves in front of large home Student crowd. From a scrum out wide the backs conjured up one more set play to put Tim Maupin in under the posts for a well executed try.

Trinity now have ten days before they travel to Galway to play Corinthians in what is a hugely important game for both teams. Corinthians are fighting to avoid relegation.  Trinity are in with a sporting chance of promotion, but are relying on one of the two teams above them losing. The Students will have to regain their accuracy and focus if they hope to win in the West.

15 Conor Kearns, 14 Tim Maupin, 13 Michael Courtney (Ruadhan Magee 65), 12 Paddy Lavelle (Seb Fromm 65), 11 Jack Fitzpatrick, 10 Tommy Whittle (Killian O’Leary 10), 9 Angus Lloyd (Brian Slater 45), 1 George Walsh (Andy Keating 30), 2 Jack Boland (Matt McCann 70), 3 Tom Collis, 4 Raef Tyrell (Jack Hennessy 75),5 Jack Burke, 6 Pierce Dargan (Tom Ryan 40), 7 Brian Du Toit, 8 Nick McCarthy

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