Rugby union: Palmyra pips Kalamunda at the death 20-18

Oh the pain: Cottesloe trounced Kalamunda 52-0.
Oh the pain: Cottesloe trounced Kalamunda 52-0.

PALMYRA scored a crucial 20-18 Premier Grade away victory over Kalamunda on Saturday, regaining the RugbyWA Cup and taking a big stride towards sewing up a home semi-final.

The match was a tough uncompromising affair between two teams in the top four.

The home side took an early lead in the game after receiving a penalty at the break down, with right wing Aidan Shortall converting.

It was obvious Kalamunda’s huge forward pack was keen to outmuscle their opponents and dominated for periods throughout the first half.

With the Bulls camped in the Palmyra 22, eventually Kalamunda left wing Blake Hignett-Stephens received the ball out wide managing to step inside his opposite winger to score.

Shortall was unable to convert, taking the score to 8-0.

Palmyra then mounted attacks of its own and after some stoic defence from the home side Palmyra Future Force player Onehunga Havili barged his way over to take the score to 8-7 where it remained at half time.

Early in the second half Palmyra looked to tire the much bigger opposition forwards out by moving them around and it appeared to have the desired result with a penalty against Kalamunda for an infringement at the break down and shortly after a try to flanker Pau Halafihi taking Pally out to a 15-8 lead and what appeared to be control of the game.

Two yellow cards to Palmyra players for high tackles reduced the visitors to 13 players and Kalamunda took full advantage, crossing for two tries through centre Jordan Holgate.

Shortall was unable to convert either try taking Kalamunda to an 18-15 lead.

With Palmyra restored to 15 men for the last five minutes, the game appeared to be over until a break out from its own line resulted in Palmyra receiving a penalty in the opposition 22 with less than a minute on the clock.

Turning down an opportunity to go for goal and draw the match, Palmyra elected to go for a lineout in the corner.

The Palmyra forwards were able to secure their own lineout and drive towards the Bulls line and with time up on the clock the ball spewed out the back of the Palmyra maul.

Quick thinking scrum half Kieran Duffin grabbed the loose ball and snuck up the blindside to score in the corner and snatch the win.

Halafihi was named player of the match for an immense all round game.

In other games, reserve grade continued their unbeaten run with a hard fought 31-24 victory, thirds went down 15-10, fourths played out a 24-24 draw and the women’s team easily accounted for the Kalamunda women 33-0.

Colts had a bye.

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