Sheffield RUFC 26 - 7 Luctonians RFC
Team Selection for Saturday, 20th October 2018
15 Laulu Togaga'e
14 Rupert Broadley
13 Lewis Bowman
12 Jamie Flint
11 Ali Womack
10 Matt Law
9 Steve Depledge
1 Joe Cooke
2 Ianto Jones
3 Ben Whitney
4 Dave Clayden
5 Jack Hawley
6 Tom Womack
7 Angus Hughes
8 Sean Casey
16 Ben Whitney
17 Sam Sumner
18 Zed Richards
What a difference a week’s rest can make! Just two weeks after the disappointment of losing away to Lichfield, Sheffield faced a very stiff test against fourth placed Luctonians who were league leaders for the first two weeks of the season. Sheffield lost the services of Will Hodgson late on Friday and also went into the match without Andy Hodgson, Zak Smith, Rob Conville, Jonny France, Dom Parsons and Michael Bradford. As a result, Matt Law moved up from the bench to the fly-half birth, Angus Hughes came back into the team at open-side flanker and Ianto Jones took over again at Hooker. However, Ben Whitney returned to the squad on the bench in place of veteran Tommy Marples. Laulu Togaga'e was to make his debut at full back, and Sam Sumner and Zed Richards were scheduled to make their debuts from the bench.
Luctonians kicked off playing toward the Club House and were soon on the attack with Sheffield coughing the ball up almost immediately, but Sheffield were in determined mood and defended with some ferocity. After an initial scare, the Blue Boys were able to break out of defence, taking play up to the Luctonians 10 metre line. Luctonians erred and Sheffield had a penalty in the centre of the park. Scrum half and captain, Steve Depledge stepped up to take the kick and Sheffield led by 3 points to nil after just 3 minutes. The next twenty minutes saw Luctonians in control of much of the possession and attacking the Sheffield defence with some ferocity, but Sheffield remained exceptionally strong, repelling all Luctonians efforts to score. Sheffield did, however, manage a couple of excursions to the Luctonians 22 and on each occasion looked dangerous, but they were also unable to breach the visitors defence. Then on twenty-four minutes, Luctonians were penalised at a scrum on their 10-metre line again, Steve Depledge added the points to take the lead out to 6 points to nil.
Luctonians came back hard at Sheffield, using their larger inside centre, Isaac Fanueli and only very resolute defence kept the visitors off the scoreboard. Luctonians had penalty opportunities on thirty and thirty-four minutes, but the usually reliable Sam Boxhall missed both from very kickable positions. A further penalty came Luctonians way two minutes later as Sheffield tried to keep them at bay. They elected to go to the corner, but Sheffield managed to repel the attack and had a relieving penalty of their own to clear their lines. From the resulting line out, Depledge kicked to the Luctonians 22-metre, Luctonians returned the kick, Ali Womack caught it over his head and set off on a run. He managed to off-load to new boy and full-back, Laulu Togaga'e, who was pulled down on the Luctonians 22-metre. The referee penalised Luctonians at the breakdown and Steve Depledge added a third penalty score for Sheffield to go in at half time 9 points to the good.
Half time saw Ben Whitney come on for Joe Cooke in the front row. Sheffield were soon on the attack and it looked quite early on as if they would score when wing Rupert Broadly showed everyone a clean pair of heels, but the ball was spilled when Rupert off-loaded and Luctonians had a scrum on their 22-metre. However, Luctonians soon gave the ball back to Sheffield and were then penalised for not releasing at the breakdown, right in front of the posts. Steve Depledge converted and Sheffield led by 12 points to nil after 45 minutes. The battle raged on, with Sheffield much more in the ascendancy than the first half, but Luctonians were far from out of the picture. The breakthrough came for Sheffield some ten minutes later when outside centre, Lewis Bowman broke out of defence and over Luctonians 10-metre line before finding full back Laulu Togaga'e on his shoulder. The pass was perfect and Togaga'e scored out on the right. Steve Depledge was again unerring in his kicking and Sheffield led by 19 points to nil after 56 minutes.
Five minutes later Steve Depledge made a scintillating break before handing on to Rupert Broadley. Broadley was hauled down, but at the breakdown Luctonians erred again and the referee decided a yellow card was warranted, sending centre Isaac Fanueli, who had taken a knock also, to the sin bin. Sheffield went for the throat with a series of scrums close to the Luctonians line, but Luctonians held firm, helped to some degree by a knock-on or even two. However, the pressure was unrelenting and, when flanker Cam Tawfik was sent to the sin-bin on sixty-seven minutes, Sheffield elected for the scrum again and after much huffing and puffing, Sean Casey added another try to his tally for the season. Steve Depledge added the conversion and the lead was out to 26 points to nil. Sheffield were caught out by a lack of concentration from the resulting kick off and Luctonians managed a consolation score; Isaac Fanueli had returned and a few minutes later was the beneficiary of a sweeping attack to score for the visitors wide out on the left. Fly-half, Stuart Kirby added the conversion to reduce the deficit to 19 points after 74 minutes. Sheffield got their heads back on and closed the match out to record another well-deserved home win.
The challenge is now to reflect this exceptional home form on the road, with the trip to third placed Newport (Salop) looming next week, who lost away themselves to Scunthorpe, who have gone top again. Surprise package Bridgnorth go second. Sheffield remain in eighth despite the win, with Bournville leaping above with a bonus point win at home against Lichfield who drop one place below Sheffield.
27-Oct-18 Newport (Salop) Away League
03-Nov-18 Nuneaton Home League
10-Nov-18 Hull RUFC Home Yorkshire Cup
|Time||Scorer||Type of Score||Team||Score||Score|
|3||Steve Depledge (9)||Penalty (1)||Sheffield RUFC||3||-||0|
|3||Steve Depledge (9)||Penalty (2)||Sheffield RUFC||6||-||0|
|3||Steve Depledge (9)||Penalty (3)||Sheffield RUFC||9||-||0|
|Half Time: -||9||-||0|
|45||Steve Depledge (9)||Penalty (4)||Sheffield RUFC||12||-||0|
|45||Laulu Topagae||Try (1)||Sheffield RUFC||17||-||0|
|45+1||Steve Depledge (9)||Conversion (1)||Sheffield RUFC||19||-||0|
|68||Sean Casey (8)||Try (2)||Sheffield RUFC||24||-||0|
|68+1||Steve Depledge (9)||Conversion (2)||Sheffield RUFC||26||-||0|
|74||Isaac Fanueli||Try (1)||Luctonians RFC||26||-||5|
|74+1||Stuart Kirby (10)||Conversion (1)||Luctonians RFC||26||-||7|