The final score suggests a much tighter game than it was in reality. Royal pinned Regent into their own half for the first 20 minutes but were unable to make a scoring breakthrough until Alex Holder determinedly finished one of the many excellent backs moves. Craig Johnston converted. Royal’s discipline in the forwards was excellent during this period while the visitors made it difficult for themselves by giving away a string of needless penalties. However, Regent fought back showing greater aggression at the ruck where they won a number of key turnovers, one of which led to a breakaway try late in the first half. Despite an equitable score at the turn of 7 points each it was clear that this game was Royal’s to lose.
Once again the home team had the luxury of bringing on a talented and experienced bench and they continued to dominate in the second half. The forwards were now holding their own in the rucks and line-outs but were completely dominant in the scrums. The backs ran some decisive lines in attack and played wonderful linking rugby to get themselves out of trouble in defence. The result was a repeat of the early first half control although this time Royal camped right on the Regent House 5 metre line. Time and time again the forwards attempted to force their way over only to be held up. Eventually they changed tactics and moved the ball to the backs where Mark Crawford stepped neatly inside his opposite number for Royal’s second try.
However, the pack had not finished trying to make their mark and the robust Kyle Hobson, one of the many players on the squad with considerable potential, eventually drove over to take the score to 19-7. With Johnston off the pitch these two tries went unconverted.
Following a number of forced substitutions and a slight drop in intensity Royal allowed Regent to get down behind their 22m line where the hosts gave away a series of penalties that left the last word to visitors and brought up a final score of 19-12. There is no doubt that there are tougher games ahead but equally the strength in depth of the squad will make the Royal’s 2nd XV a difficult team to overcome.