The Cobar Camels made their first foray into the shortened version of Rugby on the weekend when the club sent a team to compete at the annual Mudgee Rugby 7’s.
The original plan was to have a men’s and women’s squad compete but unfortunately the club could only raise a men’s team for the weekend.
Again as usual the reliability of shift workers had even the men’s team struggling for players but with the help of a few ex-Camels living in Mudgee and a few other ring-ins they were able to pull together a full squad.
The first game of the day was up against The Duke Rugby Team – an assortment of rugby players from the Hunter area.
In an impressive display the Camels made very short work of the opposition running in five tries to one. Stand out performances by young Camels’ recruit Wiaan Oosthuizen and veteran Steve Gillette helped lift the inexperienced squad’s confidence.
The second game was going to be a struggle, as the Cobar side was matched up against a Newtown team of Fijian players.
Seeing as Rugby 7’s is the national sport of Fiji (and they are the current World and Olympic Champions), Cobar did not expect miracles.
However the Camels managed to dig deep and really made the Fijian team work hard, restricting them to a single try in the first half.
The defensive efforts of Tommy Wihongi and Matt Low really kept Cobar in the game.
Unfortunately the speed and skill of the Newtown team showed in the second half, but even then they only managed to post another three tries.
The Camels’ hard work was rewarded with a try to Steve Gillette.
The final score of 24–7 was a great result for such an inexperienced 7’s team.
Their win/loss put the Cobar team into the Shield Division and their Quarter-Final opposition – the Timberwolves – was a team made up predominantly of Sydney Premier grade players (Schute Shield).
Again the Cobar team played an outstanding game but up against the skill, speed and fitness of such high quality players it was all one way traffic.
The Sydney team ran out convincing winners 52-0.
With that in mind the captain of the Timberwolves took the time to mention it was not an easy win and they respected the effort by the Cobar team.
The loss knocked the Camels out of the event, but the smiles on the faces of all our players means it hasn’t knocked 7’s off their agenda.
The tournament was won by another Fijian team – Uluinakau Rugby.
The Camels will take a well-earned off-season break, with full training for the Dubbo 7’s to resume in the New Year.—contributed