Rugby: loss, other results deny ARKS finals place

ARKS winger Wessel van Tonder caught by Mandurah defenders.
ARKS winger Wessel van Tonder caught by Mandurah defenders.

ARKS Rugby Union Club fell in their last-ditch attempt to make the finals, losing 24-22 to Mandurah at Oakmont Reserve.

A poor first half meant the visitors were always playing catch-up and despite a second-half rally, they ultimately fell short.

However, Curtin’s big win over Perth Irish meant ARKS would have missed out on a finals berth, even if they had won.

The hosts started the game strongly, scoring three first-half tries to take control, although Cody Chapman-Mannuel gave ARKS a glimmer of hope with a try of his own.

Momentum swung ARKS’ way in the second half, following a Mandurah red card and the visitors capitalised on their pressure, as Joseph Kapua and Storme Takuta crossed for vital tries.

However, the game ended on a premature note, when Jirah Cassidy collapsed with a neck injury with five minutes to go and the ambulance attending to him was too close to the sideline for play to continue.

In a positive for ARKS, their B Grade team sealed a finals spot, despite a crushing 40-24 loss to their Mandurah counterparts.

The visitors scored the opening try through Thomas Watts, but it was one-way traffic the other way for the rest of the half.

Tyrone Bayliss scored a try against the run of play for ARKS in a one-sided half, as Mandurah led 21-10 at the break.

Kash Bentley and Braydon Ryland-Birch added to ARKS’ tally with tries of their own, but Mandurah always had the answers, piling on another three tries in the second half to claim victory.

Mandurah’s victory meant they finished top of the table and will once again play ARKS in next week’s semifinal.

ARKS’ Under-20s side finished their season on a sad note, as the match was abandoned with Nedlands 32-0 up, after Traye Newman was stretchered off with serious injuries.

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