Following last weeks loss in the 85th minute to the Makis, the Men’s Blues were determined to level the ‘series’ on Sunday afternoon and finis the tour with a victory. As kick off time approached the temperature rose to 26 degrees, which was a concern for the Oxford players, but some hard work in the week had ensured that the game plan would reflect the need to play the game at a sensible pace!
Oxford started strongly and were duly rewarded after just 6 minutes, when flanker Sam Miller was driven over the line from a well constructed catch and drive line out. Captain Dom Waldouck, standing in at 10 for Tom Humberstone who was struck down with sickness overnight, was off target with his conversion attempt. The Makis then hit back and their centre converted a straight forward penalty to narrow the scores. The Blues were able to control possession and territory and Waldouck extended the tourists lead to 11 points to 3 with two well struck penalties. These scores, however, appeared to inspire the hosts and they duly came back strongly with two tries from their strong running backs, one of which was converted to give the Makis the lead 15 points to 11. On the stroke of half time, the Blues moved the ball wide and Henry Martin showed his nose for the tryline when he dotted down out wide to make the score at the interval 16 – 15 in Oxford’s favour.
The Makis came for the second period in determined mood and were soon ahead again when their fly-half scored near the posts which allowed an easy conversion. Coach James Wade then made some changes to bring on some fresh legs and energy and replacement lock George Warr rewarded hos coach when he drove over from close range allowing Waldouck to add the extras. Conscious that the home side won in overtime last week, the Blues knew they needed to score again and when they were awarded a penalty 30 metres out, kicked to the corner to set up an attacking line out. The ball went to replacement flanker Tristan Louveaux, who instead of setting up the maul as the Makis expected, drove for the line and scored near the corner. A tense final 3 minutes saw the Blues hold on for a deserved victory and return home with the series tied one all.
The Men’s Blues will play their first match on home soil when they welcome Eastern Suburbs from Sydney to Iffley Road on Monday 1st October, kick off 7.15pm.
Scores T: George Warr (1), Tristan Louveaux (1), Sam Miller (1), Henry Martin (1) C: Dom Waldouck (1) P: Dom Waldouck (2)