Rats discipline key to squashing Students rolling momentum

by Declan Armstrong

Warringah Head Coach, Michael Ruthven, has called for discipline from his Rats side as they prepare to face the undefeated Students in Round Seven of the Charter Hall Shute Shield.

With Sydney Uni hooker, Declan Moore, currently dominating the try scoring tally with 11 through just six matches, Ruthven admits there are no secrets as to what they expect from the Students come Saturday. 

“They’ll [Sydney University] kick for touch and look to maul at every opportunity,” he said. 

“We see that the opportunity to nullify that risk sits very much in our own hands. 

“If we can remain disciplined, then we limit their scoring opportunities and give ourselves a real shot.” 

Despite an impressive 40-37 victory over Eastwood at T G Millner, the Rats remain relatively untested against sides in the top half of the ladder so far this season. 

However, with upcoming fixtures against the Students, Gordon and Norths, the next month is sure to clearly determine the progress of this young Rat side. 

“This next period will certainly give us an indication of how we’re progressing as a squad,” he said. 

“We’ve set our sights high for the next month, but regardless of whether we achieve those standards, we want to make winning a habit. 

“Our side is confident in our abilities, so we enter this month in a really positive mindset.” 

The ever-reliable Students enter Round Seven with their perfect record intact, after six bonus point victories to begin 2021. 

Ominously for Warringah, arguably their strongest victory came just last Saturday, with a comfortable 43-12 victory over the consistent Eastern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval. 

Despite this, Sydney Uni Head Coach, Rob Taylor, says his team is continuously evolving into a better version of themselves. 

“It’s a long season, so our key metric is finding areas to improve and making that our weekly ambition,” he said. 

“It’s satisfying to work on something in the early weeks and then reap the benefits of that hard work down the track. 

“There’s a belief in what we’re doing and that continues to drive us.” 

The Students hold recent supremacy over their Warringah rivals, winning four of the last six encounters. 

Most tragically for the Rats, this recent run of dominance also includes the 2018 and 2019 Grand Finals, the most recent of which Uni were triumphant 21-16. 

“It’s been a tough recent rivalry between our sides, so we expect the best Warringah performance come Saturday,” Taylor said. 

“They play freely and aren’t afraid to throw the ball around when they see an opportunity.

“The DNA of Warringah is very much there and it’s a style which we respect.” 

It’s the ultimate challenge for Warringah, a team vying for Shute Shield Finals redemption in 2021, but it’s an opportunity that Michael Ruthven says his side is itching to make theirs. 

“At the moment we have a fantastic mix of young talent, sprinkled with leadership from our recent campaigns,” he said. 

“There’s a fair amount of expectation around our Club and the belief is that we return to our strongest form soon.” 

Sydney Uni host Warringah this Saturday at 3pm. 

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