NSW CAS: Aloys & Cranbrook stun Waverley & Knox to crack CAS title race wide open

St Aloysius’ and Cranbrook both caused big upsets over Waverley and Knox in round two and broke the 2019 CAS premiership race wide open. 

A week after falling just short in a disappointing 26-19 loss to Trinity, Aloys produced their best performance in recent years to hand Waverley their second straight loss at Queen’s Park. 

“I thought we played well against Trinity and with a bit more effort I thought we’d be a good chance,” Aloys’ coach Greg Austin told Rugby News. 

“We identified a couple of weaknesses in their game and then our boys turned up with plenty of
energy and executed the game plan really well.”

With Aloys’ old boy and Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley in the stands, the visitors scored early to take an unlikely lead and looked the better of the two sides in the first half. 

“We had dominance for most of the half but only came away with one try. We put a lot of pressure on them and had lots of good field position but just couldn’t quite convert that into points,” Austin continued. 

“Then they scored a bit of a sloppy try in the last play before half time from a deflected kick and we went to the break up 7-5.”

With the match in the balance, Aloys kicked up a gear after the break and scored two more tries to set up a match winning lead. 

“They allowed us to get into our phases quite comfortably and didn’t really compete at the breakdown, so we strung together some phases and then attacked down a short side,” Austin said. 

“Waverley came off the line pretty quick and our flyhalf put a nice kick through for our winger to score in the corner. 

“Then we scored a nice try from counter attack. Our winger took on the defender, kicked in field and the ball popped up for Spencer Spalding who scored under the sticks.”

While Austin was pleased with his side’s enterprising attack, the coach said it was Aloy’s work without the ball that won them the match. 

“Trinity made six line breaks against us from within their 22, which was really disappointing. We just gave them piggy backs down the field with 80 metre breaks from a lack of effort but that didn’t happen against Waverley. 

“The boys defended really well, their only try came from a deflected kick and they hardly broke us all day to be honest.”

Following the match, lock Gus Partington was rewarded for his strong start to the year with a spot in the CAS I side to play GPS on Tuesday. 

Partington was initially named in the CAS II squad alongside teammates Spencer Spalding and Austen Yates, but was promoted following an injury, which also saw Aloys’ captain Angus Allen added to the CAS II squad. 

“It would have been nice to get a few more boys picked but I guess the poor performance against Trinity probably cost them a little bit,” Austin said. 

On Friday evening, Cranbrook scored in the 65th minute then held out Knox in the closing stages to claim a 22-19 win after leading 15-5 earlier in the match. 

While At Hornsby, Barker held off Trinity in the second half to claim a 37-24 win after leading 27-7 in the first half. 

Austin suggested the Waverley v Knox fixture in round one may have taken a little out of both sides, particularly Knox. 

“They had a quicker turnaround and played Cranbrook on Friday night at Easts rugby club, after a full day at school and that would have been foreign to everyone.

“But it really is a wide open comp.”

Following the win, Austin said Bernard Foley popped into the sheds to congratulate a fairly excited Aloys’ side, who could be on track to claim the school’s first CAS title since 1978. 

“We’ll give the boys a break and freshen them up a bit because we’ve been going for a long time now. 

“Then we’ll start up again in the second week of the holidays, get into our gym and field sessions and get ready to go for those last three games.”

After two rounds, Barker are the only undefeated side and sit ahead of Aloys, Cranbrook, Trinity and Knox with one win each.