NO CSU player was as happy to see Dan Cullinane’s kick – aside from the man himself – drop over the cross bar last Saturday when the students secured a last-second win against Forbes as winger Dan Ross-Hopkins.
The speedster was the only try scorer for his team during the match, which CSU went into looking at four straight Central West Rugby Union defeats.
His effort came in the second half but went unconverted. Then with a few minutes on the clock, CSU still trailed 10-8 when Ross-Hopkins crossed the stripe again only for the touch judge to rule controversially that he had stepped into touch before putting the ball down.
“There was only two minutes to go I think and I thought I’d gone in. The Forbes touchie called me out and was a little bit cheeky about it, so we were a bit upset at that stage,” he said.
“Coming from the week before when we lost in seconds to Orange City and a couple of finals matches in seconds last year, I had been on the end of a handful of defeats where the opposition landed a kick on the siren, so to finally get the win in one of those games was a great feeling.
“It was a huge effort from all the players. We really had to hang in there for 80 minutes. We felt like we got some rough calls at times, but that happens and we were able to regroup and stick at it.”
The students will play Narromine tomorrow at University Oval and will go into the match without the pressure of not having won courtesy of Cullinane’s kick last Saturday.
They face a side in a similar predicament. While the Gorillas have fared a little better with the ball in hand than CSU, they still only have one win to show for it and have leaked plenty of points to date.
“It has been frustrating to start the way we have, especially when last year at the same stage we were unbeaten,” Ross-Hopkins said.
“As an outside back we haven’t seen a lot of ball yet, but a lot of that has been because of how much defending we’ve had to do.
“It is a team game and whether you’re heavily involved or not, you still feel some responsibility for what is happening. We were starting to look a bit better last week though, we’ve done a lot of work on the lines we run and getting more involved.
“Narromine have a fit group of forwards who play out 80 minutes of hard footy each week. I can remember playing over there last year and they just didn’t stop, I was sweating like a one-legged man in a bum kicking competition.”
Now in his third year at CSU, Ross-Hopkins hasn’t trodden the traditional path for rugby players at the university.
The southern Sydney native, who turned 21 yesterday, has an entirely different background altogether.
“I actually grew up playing soccer and was still playing prior to joining the rugby club a couple of years ago,” he said.
“One of my neighbours in my first year was Charlie Nordfeldt who was part of the rugby club. He got me into it and taught me a fair bit about passing and that sort of thing and I’ve had a great time ever since.”
CSU: 1 Archie Hamilton, 2 Toby Key, 3 Evan Binney, 4 Rob Reveur, 5 Mitch Brown, 6 Jake Wilson, 7 Tasman Leckie, 8 Toby Key, 9 James Duff, 10 Nick Rutherford, 11 Dan Ross-Hopkins, 12 Bill Griffith, 13 Tom Gasparre, 14 Dan Cullinane, 15 Cam Backhouse.
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