ARS Day 1 Wrap: Men topple Tassie as Women stun NSW Country

Thu, Sep 28, 2023, 4:00 AM
Rugby Union SA
by Rugby Union SA

The Black Falcons have opened their 2023 ARS campaign with a bang, storming home against Tasmania in the men’s afternoon fixture before narrowly falling to NSW Country in the women’s evening clash.

The men's game saw Tasmania hold their own in a 3-all opening half before South Australia turned the screws with three tries after oranges to run out 25-8 victors.

Kicking dominated early proceedings with both sides plugging multiple 50-22s and Freemen Eder trading penalties with Tassie skipper TJ Pieters.

But it was South Australia who shot clear in the second term, opening the afternoon's try though Nicholas Simpson before a Jovesa Bola try and Eder's boot blew the margin out to 18-3.

Tassie fullback Matt Noble gave the Jack Jumpers hope with a scything 25m dash to the tryline but it was too little too late as Savenaca Ronavuso crossed and converted on the full-time siren.

Men’s coach Chris Graham said there was plenty to like about the first-up win.

Our boys get the Day 1 dub at Ballymore 🖤 Black Falcons 25 def Tasmanian Rugby Union Jack Jumpers 8 Stay tuned for our ladies' upcoming clash with NSW Country Rugby Union!

Posted by Rugby Union South Australia on Tuesday, September 26, 2023

“We created lots of opportunities but it was probably our connection and composure that let us down and we left a few points out there,” Graham said.

“That composure and trust in each other will build over time and we had plenty of positives, especially our defence and our kicking, and the boys worked hard and worked those 50-20s well.

“We’ll work on being more clinical in the red zones.”

Meanwhile, women’s coach Rob Sadler took great heart from his side’s performance in a hard-fought loss to NSW Country Corellas.

SA went down 20-8 but never looked out of the fight with NSW Country standouts Tiana Anderson and Emily Lai scoring in the final eight minutes to flatter the Corellas’ scoreline.

Startled a few Corellas on Day 1 🖤 Black Falcons 8 def by NSW Country Rugby Union 20 Thanks for a great battle, NSW Country 🤝 we'll be back on Friday to face Australian Defence Force Sports

Posted by Rugby Union South Australia on Wednesday, September 27, 2023

“I think we had NSW Country scared for a while there and the girls could sense that too,” Sadler said.

“I thought we fought really hard all game and I’m proud of that performance overall – there’s lots to like about this group and I know they’ll keep getting better with time.”

The South Australians opened the scoring via a 24th minute Ella Christie intercept before Anderson equalised on the half-hour to send the sides locked 5-all at oranges.

Christie put the Black Falcons ahead with another penalty to see SA lead for much of the second term but the fairytale wasn't to be as Melanie Howard's equaliser sparked Anderson and Lai's match-sealing one-two punch.

The Black Falcons return on Friday with the women at 2:30pm against ADF and the men at 7pm against NSW Country Cockatoos.