Ferocious Shamrocks make finals

The Illawarra Rugby Union final five has been decided ahead of this weekend’s season-ending round after Shamrocks romped to a 44-8 trouncing of University in Wednesday night’s deferred match at Ziems Park.Shamrocks’ win assured them of either fourth or fifth spot, while Uni’s sixth straight loss means they can finish no higher than sixth.The Rocks take on wooden spooners Vikings at home tomorrow and will meet Engadine in the minor elimination semi-final the following Saturday.With their season on the line in Wednesday’s clash, a desperate Uni threw everything at their opponents in the opening 20 minutes. Shammies defiantly kept their line intact, even when they were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes.They built a 23-3 half-time lead and snuffed out any hope of a Mallee Bulls comeback with an equally dominant second-half display.”Our defence was the best I’ve ever seen on a rugby field. It was ferocious,” Shamrocks coach Barry Jones said.”Uni had all the ball and territory for the first 20 minutes and kept pressing our line and they couldn’t crack us. I was so proud of the effort the boys put in. From one through to 15, nobody went missing.”If the Rocks dispose of Vikings as expected, they will storm into the finals series with a full head of steam.Since a May 23 home loss to Engadine, they have not been beaten.Jones said there was no reason why his side couldn’t win the premiership. “It’s good to know we’re in and we don’t have to wait until the last round and rely on other teams losing,” he said.”There were some tough times early in the season when we weren’t winning, but the boys turned that around and there’s such a strong bond in the squad. “It’s not like there’s going to be any added pressure because we’ve been playing must-win games for a few months now.” Table: Tech Waratahs 63, Avondale 56, Shoalhaven 52, Engadine 46, Shamrocks 44, University 36, Kiama 28, Camden 19, Vikings 11

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