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Perth Spirit too strong for battered Rams

Article Published: Saturday 11 August 2007
Edited by: Sports Digital Media
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The Western Sydney Rams suffered a double whammy in their opening match of the inaugural Australian Rugby Championship (ARC).

Not only did the Sydney outfit lose 13-21 to the competition heavyweights Perth Spirit at the Members Equity Stadium, in Perth, on Friday, but compounding their pain was a suspected fractured bone in the foot of Wallaby prop Benn Robinson.

The full extent of Robinson's injury will only be known following the team's return to Sydney on Saturday.

In wet and blustery conditions in Perth the Rams withstood an early barrage, during which they were starved of possession for almost all of the first 20 minutes of the match.

Their line was eventually breached 21 minutes into the match by Spirit fullback Cameron Shepherd, who would go on to score 16 of his side's 21 points for the match.

And when new Force recruit and former Randwick outside back Nick Cummins went over shortly before the break the writing was on the wall for the visitors.

"They dominated the first 20 minutes almost totally," Rams head coach Brian Melrose said.

"In terms of possession and field position they were three to one what we had and that kind of pressure is always hard to repel.

"We hung in there more than anything and I guess we took a few bad options, but in fairness to them they deserved the momentum they got out of that opening period."

Melrose however was quick to praise his team for the fight show in not letting the match go, despite trailing 15-3 at half time,

"Defensively I cannot fault our attitude," he added.

"The way the boys just hung in there was outstanding.

"The Spirit, with the talent they had in their possession could really have powered away with the match but to their credit the boys refused to give up, which was probably the main reason the score remained close to the finish."

Chris Siale crossed for the visitors lone try, touching down four minutes from full time, while the kicking of Ben Martin kept the Rams in the contest, the winger finishing with two penalties and a conversion for the match.

The scorers:

For the Perth Spirit:
Tries: Shepherd, Cummins
Con: Shepherd
Pens: Shepherd 3

For the Western Sydney Rams:
Try: Siale
Con: Martin
Pens: Martin 2

The teams:

Perth Spirit: 15 Cameron Shepherd , 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Junior Pelesasa, 11 Ratu Siganiyavi, 10 James Hilgendorf, 9 Matt Henjak (captain), 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fava, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Tom Hockings, 3 AJ Whalley, 2 Tai McIsaac, 1 Pek Cowan
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Troy Takiari, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 Will Brock, 20 James Stannard, 21 Scott Daruda, 22 Lachlan MacKay

Western Rams: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Ben Martin, 13 Luke Johnson, 12 Chris Siale, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Fa'atonu Fili, 9 Josh Holmes, 8 Tom Egan, 7 Hugh Perrett, 6 Gareth Palamo, 5 Ben Hand (captain), 4 Van Humphries, 3 James Lakepa, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16 Ben Roberts, 17 Aaron Broughton-Rouse, 18 Marty Wilson, 19 Ben Coridas, 20 Dave Rimmer, 21 Filipo Toala, 22 Josh Weeks.

Referee: James Leckie
Touch judges: Andrew Lindsay, Sean Popperwell
Assessor: Ian Hailes
365 Digital

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