CSU produced its best attacking performance of the season on Saturday to keep its New Holland Cup finals hopes alive, running in nine tries to beat Mudgee 55-33 at University Oval.
It was a result which keeps the students in reach of the top four with three rounds remaining and importantly, it was CSU’s second win in as many weeks against a higher ranked opponent.
“We definitely needed that,” CSU centre Regan Hughes, who scored a hat-trick for the students, said. “That’s what we need to focus on now, making sure we win each week and keep building that momentum.
“Today we were pretty much all about the spirit of the game, everyone needed to get in there and show aggression and play for each other, support each other, and we definitely did that.”
While Mudgee’s scrum – as expected – dominated throughout the contest and all five of the Wombats’ tries came as their forwards showed strength close to the line, CSU did compete well in the ruck.
That allowed their quick back line time and space and they were able to capitalise.
“I didn’t really expect it to be such high scoring from both sides, but to come away from the first half with a bonus point, it was pretty exciting for the boys,” Hughes said.
“To have those three wins now over them, if we meet them in the finals then that definitely has got to play with them a little bit.”
It was Mudgee who opened scoring as they strung together more than 10 phases before hooker Adam Rayner muscled his way over.
But CSU was quick to reply as Hughes fended off a would-be tackler up the middle of the ruck then ran 40 metres to score.
Team-mate Harry Hunt showed off his fend soon after to cross in the left corner to give his side the lead at 12-7 and from there CSU was not headed.
The students led 43-14 at the break and pushed that margin out further when fullback Lochie Robinson crossed for his second five minutes after play resumed.
As the rain began to fall Mudgee rallied, Rayner and number 8 Dave Jessiman barging their way over to make it 50-26, but Hughes’ third try killed off any hope of a comeback.
Though his side outscored their rivals in the second half thanks to a late Jessiman consolation try, Wombats coach Greg Horton was left to lament errors which saw them slip out of the contest.
“We made too many mistakes at the start, they were too far ahead by half-time,” he said.
“The rain probably helped us, if it had of been close it would have been really good for us, but they were just too far in front. You are not going to get back 30 points on a wet day.
“It’s a week by week thing, who’s on and who’s off. We just have to win our remaining games.”