Gloucester rugby union president, Michael Wooster, lavished praise on exciting teenager, Ryan Yates, after his man-of-the-match performance against the Old Bar Clams in Gloucester on Saturday.
Returning for his first game of the season, the young fullback made some scintillating runs in beating Old Bar defenders as well as bringing off fine tackles in the Cockies’ 40-5 defeat of the Clams.
“Ryan was outstanding. He made all the difference to our performance. We have some young players in the team and he was barking at us the whole time, telling us where to go,” front rower Wooster said.
“Old Bar went toe to toe with us early on but we gradually wore them down. They had one especially good centre, a nice tackler and strong over the ball.”
The bonus point win in the fifth round game was a welcome change of fortune for the Cockies. It was their first of the season, promoting them above the Clams in the six-club premiership race for the semi-finals.
Next Saturday, Gloucester travel to Nabiac for the ultimate test against unbeaten competition leaders, the Wallamba Bulls, winners 29-21 and five tries to three, over the defending premiers, the Forster Tuncurry Dolphins, last weekend.
The Bulls’ success came after the game’s strange course, their forward pack bulldozing an impressive path to lead four tries to nil and 22-0 lead by half-time and then conceding three tries in the second half and leading by one point, 22-21, with five minutes remaining.
Three minutes from full time, Wallamba’s five-eighth James Dinnan sent a long pass spiralling to his dangerous inside-centre, James Handford, which saw the midfielder outflank the Dolphins’ defence and surge over for the match-winning try.
Next Saturday, Old Bar are at home to Myall Coast while the Forster Dolphins will play the Manning River Ratz at Taree Rugby Park in what will prove an extremely dangerous game with several Dolphins players out of action through injury, among them 19-year-old hooker, Jeremy Innes, who has been lost for the season with a torn hamstring muscle.