RUGBY UNION: Dark Blues finish with a flourish to sink Sydney

10:00am Tuesday 26th November 2013

Oxford University 34

(tries Olivier, Hughes, Doe, Gardner, Taylor; cons Taylor 3; pen Taylor)

Sydney University 24

(tries Boiden, Merriman, Cannon; cons Hodge 3; pen Hodge)

Oxford University made their fitness count to finish strongly and claim victory over Sydney University at Iffley Road last night.

Despite having only touched down in the United Kingdom a little over 24 hours previously it was the Aussies who started much the brighter and going into the last 20 minutes they held a 24-22 lead.

But fatigue then started to set in for Sydney with a number of players suffering from cramp.

The Dark Blues showed little mercy by adding to their try tally through hooker Nick Gardner and Jacob Taylor, who rubbed salt into the wounds of his former colleagues with a fine solo effort, which he also converted, to seal a ten-point victory.

Sydney had opened the scoring after just four minutes with a penalty from second row Byron Hodge.

And they extended their lead with a try from impressive No 8 and captain Tom Boiden, which Hodge duly converted to put the visitors 10-0 up after just 13 minutes.

Oxford upped their game and were rewarded with a try from replacement fly half Pietie Olivier.

This was quickly followed by a second try from wing Henry Hughes, converted by Taylor.

With the game being played at a frenetic pace and both teams committed to attack, it was Sydney who scored next when scrum half Jock Merriman spotted a gap and shot over from 22 metres, once again Hodge adding the extras.

Oxford hit back to regain the lead going into the interval when centre Ed Doe took advantage of a spilled ball from the kick-off to score under the posts.

Taylor slotted the simple conversion to make it 19-17 to the Dark Blues at the break.

Oxford started to dominate possession and territory after half-time, but could manage only a Taylor penalty to extend their lead to five points.

The visitors hit back again with a well-taken try from wing Ben Cannon, with Hodge landing the conversion to give his side a narrow advantage.

But Oxford had the greater stamina to claim victory in the final quarter.

Oxford University: Taylor (Shorthose), Hughes, Doe, Janney (A Macdonald), Williams, Hudson (Olivier), Egerton, Anderson (Wisson), Gardner (Heathcote), H Macdonald (Hannah), Reeson-Price (Rickner), Rowlands (Patch), Harris (MacGilchrist), Jones, Carter.

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