Shute Shield: Tom Carter picks the best Sydney University team of his time

After reading a fantastic yarn by Josh Holmes on the Northern Beaches Sports Tribune, we thought we’d borrow the concept (with permission) and get players from various Shute Shield clubs to name their best team of all time.

To clarify, this team is from the perspective of the player and will largely feature individuals from that player’s era.

It might not completely fill the void left while the rugby season is on hold, but hopefully it’ll help kill a little time.

By Tom Carter

1 Harry Johnson-Holmes

He was a schoolboy prodigy and then pushed through Uni’s colts program. He can play both sides of the scrum, is a great ball carrier and a very dynamic and abrasive forward around the field. 

2. Tolu Latu

His performance in the 2013 grand final will be talked about for a very long time. He’s wonderful at set piece, he’s got an incredible physical presence and he’s a dynamic ball carrier. 

3. Laurie Weeks

This was a tight one with Dave Fitter also in the mix but I had to go with the people’s champ. He’s a Super Rugby champion, a Wallaby and an incredible bloke. He came through the colts program at Sydney Uni and is one of the all time legends at celebrating a grand final win. 

4. Will Caldwell 

He was one of the most capped locks for some time. He was incredibly abrasive and physical and one of the best defenders I played with. 

5. Dan Vickerman 

When he was playing with Uni he was simply outstanding. Set piece, physical presence, Dan had it all. 

6. Dean Mumm

I’ve moved Dean to No.6. He was an incredibly athletic, ball carrying forward. Strong in the line out and had an uncanny ability to be involved in the big moments of games.

7. Jono Jenkins

This is a real tough one with Phil Waugh, Dave Hickey and a lot of other good No.7s at the club. It’s hard to go past Jono Jenkins in terms of his contribution to Sydney Uni though. He had an incredible physical presence and played in an era where there were a lot of good No.7s playing Sydney club rugby, but he still found a way to get the job done more often than not.

8. Tim Davidson

You can’t go past Tim, his record speaks for itself. He had 146 wins as captain from 158 matches and won 8 premierships, there’s not much more you can say really. 

Since then, he also had a successful stint coaching a young Sydney Uni first grade side that has gone on to have tremendous success in recent years. 

9. Scott Stumbles

It’s another tough one. You’ve got Scott Stumbles who was the elder statesman, Nick Haydon, Luke Burgess, Nick Stirzaker, Nick Phipps and more recently Jake Gordon but I’ve gone with Scott. He had an incredible presence on the field and he often played with a team of Wallabies or Super Rugby players but always had the composure and respect to be able to calm them and organise a team. He also had a great ability to scoot from the base of the ruck and score. 

10. Daniel Halangahu 

The Prince! Again it’s tough when you’ve had guys like Bernard Foley, Berrick Barnes and Angus Roberts at the club but he just had this incredible presence. He was a great ball carrier and had a great ability to push the ball around the field and drive a team forward. 

11. Michael Griffin 

The player’s player award at the club is named after him, so that says a lot. They called him The Sponge and he was the epitome of a university rugby player. He was incredibly hard working, resilient and scored a lot of tries. 

12. Guy Porter

The current first grade captain. I think he’ll end up being a Wallaby and a very good one at that. He’s an incredible leader and is a powerful ball runner with a good turn of foot. 

13. Mitch Inman

The two Inman brothers come to mind with Luke in the earlier years of my career and Mitch later on. They were different players though, Luke was an incredible defender and Mitch was a fantastic ball carrier. We also had guys like Tom English as well but I went with Mitch. His performance in the 2009 grand final against a star studded Randwick side will forever remain in my memory. 

14. Peter Playford

I can’t got past the electric speed of Peter Playford, with his ability to score a try. I think in 2005 he broke the Shute Shield try scoring record plus he was a great clubman and contributed a lot to the place. 

15. Tom Kingston

I think this is the hardest one. My brother was pretty handy in the early 2000s but I didn’t get to play a lot with him. Then we had Nigel Staniforth and Jacob Taylor who was also a Rhodes Scholar. Then you’ve also got Julian Huxley, Angus Roberts and Tim Clements. 

I went with Tom Kingston though. He’s an Australian 7s Olympian and has played with the Waratahs and Rebels. I think his performance in the 2013 grand final along with Tolu’s was really incredible. He had great skill, speed and was a really good athlete. 

Coach: Steve Surridge

Steve Surridge started it all back in 2005 so it’s hard not to pick him but we’ve been extremely blessed at Sydney Uni over the years.