Byron Bay Rugby travelled to nearby Lennox Head on Saturday to take on the Trojans, who were also three wins from three games.
The game started fast and strong with Byron Bay showing their skill set at the breakdown and restarts. Byron Bay’s first points came after an impressive, strong drive from the forwards with No 8 Jack Cooke diving over the whitewash giving him his fifth try on four games for the Blue & White.
Cooke was involved in Byron’s second after a quick change in direction from the breakdown down the blindside with Darrell Montgomery popping to Cooke, who made a darting run down the touchline before executing a perfectly timed pass back inside to scrum-half Harold Chiffoleau, who sprinted to score over the line. Fly-half John Laughlin converted again making it 14–0 after as many minutes.
Some solid defending across the paddock from Byron’s Will Aisake and Josh Smith stopped Lennox Head in their tracks in the first 30 minutes as well as Huw Owen and Matt Lund, who started his first game for the Bay, showed their skill in the front row showing strength and great body positioning.
The Byron Bay forwards showed their dominance again with flanker Craig Wallace and Cooke scoring his second of set pieces and string drives, Wallace now scoring six tries to match Cooke’s six this season. Laughlin converted another, taking Byron Bay into halftime with a 26–0 lead against the Trojans.
The second half saw Byron Bay’s attacking play flourish once more with some great hands from Chiffoleau presenting great ball to the backs. Chiffoleau assisted Byron Bay’s fifth try of the day, pairing up with Laughlin, who showed great footwork, to beat the Lennox defence to score his try to bring his points tally for the day into double digits. Laughlin then converted his own try to bring him to 13 points for the afternoon.
Coach Paul Jeffery played his replacements to good use, bringing on fresh legs in the second half at the right time to boost Byron’s forward dominance. It wasn’t until Laughlin took a big hit and had to come off that Byron Bay’s versatility was shown with Welshman Owain Roberts moving out of position to fly-half and backrower Andy Teuma coming on into centre.
The latter end of the half proved tighter than the first with fewer points being scored. Lennox Head didn’t get their first points of the game until the final quarter, with John Huddy intercepting a pass between the Byron backs and sprinting to the try line, the Trojans’ first time in the Byron 22 in the second half.
Veteran Troy Wynter came in to the fold off the bench and, with one of his first carries, secured the ball and scored a great try off the Byron Bay pack. A welcome return for Wynter, who had been overseas for the last two games. Captain Jascha Saeck converted, bringing Byron Bay to 33 points clear.
Another late run from Byron Bay saw some slick hands from the backs putting winger Christian Rossi into some space; he sprinted down the touchline to dive over in the corner, though it was later disallowed over a controversial foot-in-touch decision.
Coach Paul Jeffery received a bit of grief after the game from his old club but the smile couldn’t be taken from his face. This was a big win for Byron Bay Rugby, showing their resilience on and off the pitch. Byron Bay next travel on 28 May to Southern Cross University, who were narrowly beaten by Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers.
Lennox Head Trojans 7 / Byron Bay Rugby 40
Byron Bay Rugby
Tries: J Cooke(2), H Chiffoleau, C Wallace, J Laughlin, T Wynter
Cons: J Laughin (4) J Saeck.
Lennox Head Trojans
Try: J Huddy
Con: S Fitzgerald