Jesus Procession Continues As John’s Scrape By
No change at the summit of the top division as Jesus, John’s and Downing all win.
Jesus 48 – 10 Magdalene
Jesus stayed at the summit of college rugby after a resounding eight try, 48-10 victory over a depleted but willing Magdalene outfit on Tuesday.
For the rest of the competition, the most alarming aspect of the home team’s performance will not so much be the scoreline as the improved display by the Jesus pack, which provided a solid platform for stand-in stand-off Fowey “Fabio” Harvey and his backs to play some entertaining front-foot rugby.
A revamped front row saw Jesus win a number of tight-heads off the Magdalene scrum, while they projected genuine physicality in the rucks as lock Nicolaas Viljoen took some time out of his hectic college visiting schedule to front up for his first start of the year.
Jesus started strongly, camping in Magdalene’s 22 and earning a number of penalties from the South African referee. A nice lineout variation laid on a try for Harvey under the posts, his first of two for the afternoon.
Moments later, a sweet back row move off a dominant scrum saw Number 8 “Little” Nick Roope link up with Scrum Half Orri Jones to put captain Jamie Miller over for a sensational score. Magdalene must have been sensing it was going to be a long afternoon.
Shortly before half-time, Jesus winger and crowd favourite Dan Marron showed oodles of gas to blitz past most of the Magdalene defence, but was dragged down metres out from the line. Fullback Russell Rammage and Jones both scored soon after
Jesus must drop points before their clash against John’s on the final day of the season for anyone else to take the title. Photo by Tim Sherrington.
While Jesus rang the changes at half-time, Magdalene mounted a spirited fightback that saw them rewarded with two well-deserved close range tries to their hard-working forwards, including one to captain Frank Sanders, who crashed through some weak ruck defence.
Throughout the match, Magdalene executed some brilliant plays, with their inside centre running some particularly sweet lines, but all too often an enterprising phase was followed by dropped ball or a Jesus turnover.
The Magdalene fight back provided the wake-up call Jesus needed, with tries to Frankie Brown, Dom “Kelvin” Macklin, and Pete Blenkharn rounding out the match, with Roope providing some outrageous Sonny Bill Williams-esque offloads.
Yet while Fijian flair was usually the order of the day, there was plenty for the purists too. The Magdalene hooker went off with claret gushing from an open head wound early in the second half, while the Magdalene Captain was heard to tell his opposite that a Jesus lock was ‘a cunt’, only to get the reply: ‘I think he already knows that.’
With four rounds left, Jesus are eyeing off the title. However, Magdalene showed more than enough promise today to suggest they have the capacity to avoid relegation – if they can get their first-choice fifteen on the field often enough.
Other results in Division 1
John’s 16 – 10 Queens’
Trinity 0 – 50 Downing