ARS Days 2/3 Wrap: Narrow losses sting as Victoria, QLD Suburban playoffs loom

Sun, Oct 1, 2023, 5:00 AM
Rugby Union SA
by Rugby Union SA

The Black Falcons are eyeing off a strong finish to their respective ARS campaigns after going winless on Days 2 and 3 at Ballymore.

The men finished third in Pool B behind NSW Country and Perth Gold following narrow losses to both sides.

It took two late penalties from NSW Country to sink SA on Day 2 after leading 20-19 with 10 minutes to play following an Ed Wilkes runaway try.

Day 3’s fixture saw Perth rocket out of the blocks with four quick tries but Black Falcons were never out of the fight, banking an early score through Rafe Liebers and building pressure through Freeman Eder's boot before eventually falling 13-20.

Coach Chris Graham said the side were “emotional” after two tough losses but praised their remarkable improvement from last year’s campaign.

Making waves at Ballymore 🌊 they're starting to get what SA Rugby is all about ⚫🦅 Men 13 def by Perth Gold (RugbyWA...

Posted by Rugby Union South Australia on Friday, September 29, 2023

“I’m pretty sure NSW Country beat us by 50-60 points last year and nobody else expected us to go close (on Day 2).

“And then when Perth came out of the blocks hard and fast on Day 3, we responded again – every time they scored we hit back and gave ourselves a real chance.

“Considering where we’ve come from last year, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Meanwhile the women will tackle QLD Suburban in the 4 v 4 playoff after falling to ADF and ACT/SNSW last week.

Honoured to share the field with ADF - thank you for your service and a hard-fought game 🖤 Black Falcons 11 def by Australian Defence Force Sports 17

Posted by Rugby Union South Australia on Thursday, September 28, 2023

Tamikha McNab’s try wasn’t enough to run down the servicewomen in a 11-17 defeat with Naomi Caucau’s long-range effort a bright spark in their 7-39 loss to Kestrels.

Speaking with the side after Day 3, coach Rob Sadler praised their never-say-side attitude.

“We never gave up and that’s the spirit we’re trying to build, so I couldn’t be happier with that effort … and we've got one more game to look forward to.”

The Black Falcons play back-to-back on Field 2 in Monday’s final with the women kicking off 11:00am against QLD Suburban before the men tackle Victoria at 12:30pm.