Nedlands have successfully defended the RugbyWA Cup and notched up their 10th consecutive win with a commanding 22-5 victory over Kalamunda in testing conditions at The Foreshore yesterday.

In the wet, points were hard to come by in a scrappy first half with the two sides sharing equal possession, but unable to convert with the conditions making handling difficult. Both teams relied on their forwards to go forward, but spent most of the first 40 minutes camped between the 22 metre lines as Nedlands took a slender lead into the break, 3-0.

With the raining coming to a halt in the second half, Nedlands were able to move back to their attacking brand of rugby, running in three tries to one for a comfortable victory.

Nedlands coach Luke Doherty said he was happy with his side’s response after such a low scoring first half and how they adjusted to the conditions.

“It was really tough game in tough conditions,” he said. “At 3-0 at halftime, we challenged the boys and they went out there and implemented it, which is really pleasing.

“We told them to just play the conditions and revert to our game plan of moving the ball and running their big guys around.

“They’re a big physical side so we knew we would be in for a challenge up front; all week we have been focusing our structure and sticking to our patterns.

“The wet weather got the forwards involved a bit more than they usually are which was good for them, but in saying that, I thought the backs performed well again today when it opened up in the second half.”

Pouring rain in the first half saw both teams look to take the ball up with their forwards and control possession, although handling errors shot down any try scoring opportunities.

Discipline proved key after Kalamunda were penalised for not releasing and Jese Toto slotted the penalty from 15-metres out for the only points of the half to give Nedlands the lead, 3-0.

With conditions drying up in the second half, Nedlands came out on the front foot.

Following a scrum 40-metres out, Nedlands scrum half Michael Ruru broke the line before offloading to halves partner, Jese Toto, who burst through the Bulls’ last line of defence to dive over in the corner. Kauri Cudd converted from the sideline, stretching the lead to 10-0.

Gathering momentum, ‘Neddies’ put together multiple phases of quick ball, forcing Kalamanda to commit numbers to the break down before spinning the ball wide to an overlap for Liam van der Westhuizen to score Nedlands’ second from just five metres out. Cudd converted successfully taking the score to 17-0.

With the Bulls on the ropes Nedlands went straight back on the attack, with Joseph Ritchie ruled to be held up over the line. Off the back of the resulting scrum, the Nedlands forwards rumbled the ball up again before Ruru darted around the edge of the ruck to score his side’s third of the match.

Determined to fight to the final whistle, Kalamunda outside-centre J'None Tuitavake scooped up a dropped ball and burst into space to put in a grubber kick for Faamanatu Apineru before Nedlands fullback Dylan van Dieman came across in cover defence to knock the ball dead. Leo Auvaa picked up from the back of the resulting scrum and barged down the blind-side to score in the corner to finalise the 22-5 result.

In yesterday’s other results, Wanneroo upset Associates, 18-21; Palmyra accounted for Cottesloe, 22-8; Joondalup were too strong for Perth Bayswater, 41-10; and Wests got over the line against UWA, 19-18.

Nedlands 22 (Jese Toto, Liam van der Westhuizen, Michael Ruru tries; Kauri Cudd 2 conversions, Jese Toto penalty) defeated Kalamunda 5 (Leo Auvaa try)

Pindan Premier Grade – Round 11
Nedlands 22 defeated Kalamunda 5 at The Foreshore, Nedlands
Joondalup 41 defeated Perth Bayswater 10 at HBF Arena, Joondalup
Palmyra 22 defeated Cottesloe 8 at Harvey Field, Cottesloe
Wests Scarborough 19 defeated UWA 18 at McGillivray Oval, Mt Claremont
Wanneroo 21 defeated Associates 18 at Allen Park, Swanbourne

By Fraser Smith