Capital Challenge – London Skolars 6 London Broncos 74

12th January 2013

The London rugby league season kicked off on a cold, clear day at the HAC ground in the City when the capital’s two professional teams went head to head in the annual Capital Challenge.

It proved to be a one-sided affair with the Super League side overwhelming their Championship One opponents by 13 tries to one but both coaches were satisfied with their first run out of the season. Skolars head coach Joe Mbu , whose squad had only trained a handful of times, said: ”I’m happy, not with the scoreline but the contact, the structure and the new players who seemed to go OK.

“We didn’t know our season was only going to start in March when we planned the game but I saw plenty of character. No heads went down and even in the last minutes players were still chasing down Broncos.”

The opening play augured well for them with Kieran Dixon losing the ball in the very first tackle of the game to present the north London outfit with a good attacking opportunity. They weren’t able to capitalise and the Broncos marched to the other end of the field and opened the scoring when Antonio Kaufusi crashed over from short range.

They dominated the rest of the half exploiting their opponents vulnerability under the high ball to claim six more touchdowns. Michael Channing looked particularly sharp at left centre, crossing for two tries with Michael Robertson also grabbing a couple.

Erjon Dollapi came on late in the half to join fellow Albanian Olsi Krasniqi and pounced on a scrambled kick to the posts to register another score and just before half time new recruit Tommy Lee, also opened his account for the club when he got on the end of a flowing Broncos attack.

Michael Witt converted four and Craig Gower two to give them a 40-0 lead at the break. Skolars forwards Rob Thomas and Michael Worrincy ran hard while scrum half Dylan Skee constantly probed for openings but the Championship One side were far too engaged in defending to mount any sustained attacks.

The Broncos increased their lead within two minutes of the re-start, when Liam Colbon out since April 9th after undergoing a shoulder re-construction, touched down in the corner. Witt converted but over the next 15 minutes the Skolars more than held their own and opened their account with a well-worked try.

They attacked down the left and a finely-flighted pass from Skee enabled Smokie Junor to score in the corner, with Skee adding an excellent conversion. But the final quarter belonged to the Broncos with new boy Alex Hurst opening his account when he finished off some slick handling by Witt and Luke Dorn.

Krasniqi then touched down and Oscar Thomas raced through a gap soonafter joining the action. Some impressive offloads, instigated by Mike McMeeken, enabled Dorn get on the scoresheet and Dixon rounded things off in a much more positive fashion than he had started the match with the final try.

Witt, Thomas and Chris Melling all added conversions to put further gloss on the scoreline.

Broncos head coach Tony Rea professed himself happy with the performance and his players but reluctant to pick out any individuals: “The biggest thing today was that the scoreboard was irrelevant,” he said. “It was all about keeping control. It gets hard after half time when you’re chopping and changing people but it was an extremely useful exercise.”

Both coaches reported that their players had come through the match pretty much unscathed with no major injuries.


London Skolars Try:Junor Con:Skee

London Broncos: Tries:Kaufusi, Channing (2),Robertston (2), Dollapi, Lee, Colbon, Hurst, Krasniqi, Thomas,Dorn, Dixon

Cons:Witt (6), Gower (2), Melling (2), Thomas

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