ARC Rugby championship

Spirit edge the Tornadoes



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In the lowest scoring match of the weekend the Perth Spirit kept their Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) semi-final hopes alive with a 17-12 victory over the Ballymore Tornadoes at the weekend.

The Spirit, who were never expected to lose to the Tornadoes, were severely handicapped after being reduced to a mere 13 men in the first-half – prop Gareth Hardy and wing Ed Jenkins both received yellow cards in quick succession- but managed to pull through in the end.

As the score would suggest it was by no means the most entertaining match of the ARC, although there were glimpses of brilliance from both teams.

There were just too many stoppages and of course a shortage of try-scoring opportunities.

Spirit scrum-half for the day, James Stannard was the first and only player to cross the opposition try-line in the first 30 minutes.

The stand-in scrum-half finally managed to pierce the resilient Tornadoes defence, making a darting run before touching down for the Spirit.

The home team did have opportunities to put points on the board, but failed to capitalise, which has been their Achilles heel throughout the season.

Outside-center Donovan Slade squandered two wonderful opportunities to score on his ARC debut, which would have done the home team’s confidence a world of good.

Eighth-man Leroy Houston managed to exploit the two late first-half yellow cards when he scored a try in the dying moments of the first-half to keep his team’s slim hopes of an upset alive at half-time.

It was a slow star to the second-half as both teams struggled to take full control of proceedings before.

It was the Spirit lock Tom Hockings who ultimately broke ice with try in the 60th minute, breathing life into his team-mates.

Man-of-the-match Richard Brown capped what was by far the most inspirational period of play from the visiting team when he cantered over for the match winning try just four minutes later.

No.8 Scott Higginbotham scored a consolation try for the dispirited home team off a well struck grubber-kick from full-back Clinton Schifcofske.

The final result painted a glum picture of a disastrous season for the Tornadoes, who have won just one of their seven games thus far.

The scorers:

For Perth Spirit:

Tries: Stannard, Hockings, Brown
Conversions: Daruda 3

For Ballymore Tornadoes:

Tries: Houston, Higginbotham
Pens: Schifcofske
Cons: Schifcofske 2

Yellow cards: Ed Jenkins (Spirit), Gareth Hardy (Spirit)

Ballymore Tornadoes:15 Clinton Schifcofske, 14 Paul Doneley, 13 Donovan Slade, 12 Tim Sampson, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Elia Tuqiri, 9 Will Genia, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Tom McVerry (c), 6 Dan Linde, 5 James Horwill, 4 Ed O’Donoghue, 3 Ben Coutts, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Shon Siemonek
Replacements:16 Geoff Abram, 17 Ernest Skelton, 18 Scott Higginbotham, 19 Steve Miller, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 David Collis, 22 Byron Roberts

Perth Sprit:15 Luke McClean, 14 Edward Jenkins, 13 Nic Cummins, 12 Ryan Cross, 11 Jackson Mullane, 10 Scott Daruda, 9 James Stannard, 8 Scott Fava, 7 Richard Brown, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Tom Hockings, 3 Troy Takiari, 2 Luke Holmes, 1 Gareth Hardy
Replacement:16Tai McIsaac, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Luke Doherty, 19 William Brock, 20 Matt Henjak, 21 Kane Allen, 22 Todd Feather

Date: Sunday September, 23
Venue: Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Brett Bowden
Touch judges: Steve Leszczynsk, Stephen Hill
365 Digital

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