SEAN Morris was the class act as Oxford RL began the season with a hard-fought 19-12 win over London Skolars.
The full back scored a try at the start of each half to ensure the campaign began on a positive note at Iffley Road.
Oxford coach Tony Benson was thrilled with the result, sealed by a try from Callum Mulkeen late on, and singled out Morris for praise.
He said: “We got a great start in both halves.
“I wanted to move Sean Morris out of the centres last season, but we didn’t have players to do that.
“I decided to move Sean to full back last week and although we have lost one of the best centres in the competition, we have one of the best full backs.”
Morris had been on trial with Super League side London Broncos during pre-season and took just two minutes to open the scoring.
He took advantage of a knock-on to burst through the Skolars defence and outsprinted three players before touching down.
Jimmy Rowland added the extras.
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The game quickly became attritional in slippery conditions, which led to a host of handling errors from both sides.
Rowland added a drop goal, but after wasting several good chances the visitors finally got on the board when Martyn Smith darted over a minute before the break.
Matthew Bradley kicked the goal, but Morris’s second try came shortly after the restart.
Rowlands was again on target, but Oxford’s progress was complicated when Chris Clarke was sin-binned nine minutes from time.
Skolars quickly scored and had opportunities to pinch a late victory, but Mulkeen finished off a late counter-attack to round off the win.
Oxford: Morris, Mulkeen, Hoggins, Brooker, Crabtree, Rowland, Connick, Clarke, Thompson, Hadden, Baird, O’Keeffe, Bentley. Reps: Rice, Osborn, Ellison, Sharratt.