Sunday, March 1, 2009

SMU Shocks NUS With a Record-Breaking Victory!

NUS vs SMU (27th Feb 2009)

Location: NUS

Scoreline: 12-33

Tries: Keith Oh (1), Shafiq Zulazmi (1)
Conversions: Shafiq Zulazmi

Tries: Justin Lum (2), Bryan Ng (2), Tafadzwa L Marasha (1)
Conversions: Justin Lum (1), Derek Chan (3)

Considered by rugby analysts as the match of the 1st round of Tri Uni 2009, this classic match-up between arch rivals SMU and NUS was predicted to be an interesting encounter. Pundits have tipped NUS to edge out after witnessing the defending champions' dismal performance against NTU on Monday.

In what turned out to be a one-sided affair, former Rafflesian scrumhalf Justin Lum bagged 2 tries in his full debut for SMU to help inspirational skipper, Daniel Marc Chow, make a triumphant return to the team in a stunning 33-12 record breaking victory on Friday night.
The win was SMU's first 15-a-side win on NUS ground.

Justin Lum's double confirmed his return from a horrendous knee injury suffered training for the National Sea Games 7s squad over a year ago. His man-of-the-match performance will do himself some justice after disgruntled fans complained about the number of times (only 1 appearance so far) he has appeared in the SMU jersey after the massive transfer fee paid 2 years ago. It also relieved some of the pressure on the City Boys, which had been reeling from their below-par performance earlier in the week against NTU as well as missing the presence of key players such as Lionel Poh and Daniel Marc Chow.

Returning to the team for the first time since his freak abdominal injury 2 weeks ago, DMC had a hand in two of SMU's five-pointers.

The City Boys have now won all of its first round games of the Tri Unis season against both NTU and NUS. This victory now brings SMU to a comfortable position on the top of the table with 2 more games to go.

University Won Lost Draw Bonus Points Total Points
SMU 2 0 0 1 7
NUS 1 1 0 0 3
NTU 0 2 0 1 1

*Sorry but I've left out the Points Scored, Points Conceded & Points Difference as it would not fit the layout of the blog

Match Report

SMU got off to a great start when NUS conceded two tries early in the first half within a space of 10 minutes. Those 2 tries were results of shocking schoolboy errors made by the NUS players. In the 12th minute, SMU was awarded a penalty and Justin Lum's effort sailed wide of the post. Instead of catching the ball and killing it in the try area, NUS players's lack of communication lead to the ball bouncing off the hands of their French fullback. SMU's flanker Tafadzwa L Marasha capitalised on the mistake. He pounced on the loose ball and dived over the line for the first try. Less than 5 minutes later, SMU was awarded a penalty again and in a repeat of what happened moments earlier, Justin Lum's kick sailed wide of the post and this time landed off the head of the French fullback. Winger Alex Chew managed to tap the ball back and this time around, fellow winger Bryan Ng caught the loose ball and dived over the line for his 2nd try in as many games. Justin Lum duly converted and the score was 12-0 to SMU at half time.

NUS was clearly shocked by what had happened. SMU could not have asked for a better start to the game. It was an absolute nightmare-ish 1st half for NUS.

In the 2nd half, it was NUS' turn to pile on the pressure. With SMU lapsing into moments of ill-discipline, NUS seized their chances by going for the quick taps and catching the City Boys on backfoot. It was during this desperate period that NUS picked themselves up and forged on to attack. From a quick tap penalty, NUS captain Keith Oh barged through 3 defender to score. This brought the score to 12-5.

NUS' celebration was short-lived as Justin Lum scored a superb individual try off a defensive scrum in the 58th minute. Justin Lum, who was constantly pressurizing opposite scrumhalf Shafiq Zulazmi throughout the game, managed to knock the ball out of Shafiq Zulazmi's hands. He then picked it up and showed how to finish as he side-stepped through the NUS defence and scored underneath the post. Standoff Derek Chan took over the kicking duties and converted to bring the score to 19-5.

Justin Lum repeated the brilliance a couple of minutes later to score his second try of the game as the City Boys took control at 26-5.

To NUS' credit, they picked themselves up and kept on attacking. SMU then had to play with 14 men when flanker Ruzaini Sani was sin-binned with 10 minutes to go. NUS capitalised on the extra man they had and NUS' scrumhalf Shafiq Zulazmi got a deserved try when he dived over the line in the 71st minutes for a decent dose of consolation.

In the final minute of the game, SMU scored again to make the victory look a reality. This time, skipper Daniel Marc Chow picked the ball off the base of the scrum and attacked blindside. He managed to offload the ball to standoff Derek Chan before being tackled. Derek Chan showed his class when he slid through the gap and slipped a great pass to winger Bryan Ng, who dived over in the corner for his 2nd try of the game. The final whistle was blown after Derek Chan slotted in the conversion, with SMU recording a famous victory over NUS.

Final score: SMU 33 NUS 12

Speaking to SMUrugby News during the post-match conference, senior SMU player Desmond Wee, said:"The result is positive for us, especially since the last game did not go that well for us, but we cannot become overly enthusiastic and must prepare calmly for the home leg next Friday against NUS. Overall, today's performance was incredible. It was a great team effort."

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