Rugby round-up: Dramatic late try spoils perfect start for Sheffield Tigers

Henri Packard of Sheffield Tigers RUFC
Henri Packard of Sheffield Tigers RUFC
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Sheffield Tigers, who were unbeaten in 10 months away from home, lost their record after a late try saw them lose a hard-fought battle away at Firwood Waterloo.

Two unconverted James Montgomery trys meant the Tigers held a 10-7 lead at half time, but they quickly fell two tries behind after the restart.

Henri Packard crashed over to begin a comeback for the Tigers and a further score by Ed Simmons mean they went into the final few minutes with a narrow 24-21 lead.

But with not long left, Waterloo made the risky decision to go with a scrum instead of a simple penalty kick, which would have otherwise tied the game. The risk paid off, with a try being scored and the match ended 28-24 to Waterloo.

Tigers head coach Thiu Barnard said: “Saturday’s game was a great game to watch if you were a neutral.

“In the first half we were very good, in the second half we took our foot off the gas, missed too many tackles and gave away too many penalties.

“It was discipline in the end that killed us. We gave away three or four penalties in the last five minutes that put them in a position to score.”

When asked about the end of the 10-month unbeaten away streak, Barnard said: “I think everyone is more relaxed now that we’ve finally lost.

“That monkey is off our backs now.

“We don’t have to worry about losing now.”

The Tigers still top the National League 3 North table, but the result has narrowed their lead to just one point over the now-second Firwood.

The Dore Moor-based side host a struggling Huddersfield YMCA in their next game on Saturday.

“They started off badly but have put in good performances,” said Barnard.

“It’s going to be a very tough, physical game, but we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s always a tough game against them.”

Barnard’s side remain unbeaten at home for over a year now: “Its nice but everyone wants to target you,” he says.

And, when asked if he fears the magnificent run will come to an end, Barnard confidently said: “Sooner or later its going to happen.

“But not this weekend.”

Meanwhile, across the Steel City, Sheffield RUFC endured their third consecutive league defeat after squandering a second half lead to Ilkley.

Sheffield dominated the first half but a series of mistakes after the break saw them fall behind.

A late try sealed the game for Ilkley, with the game finishing 29-20.

The result leaves the Abbeydale Park side eighth in the league; safely in mid-table, but 12 points shy of leaders, and local rivals, Tigers.