Camden, Shamrocks brawl mars opening round

File picture.

File picture.

RUGBY UNION

Allegations of headbutting have marred Camden’s thumping of Shamrocks, as the premiers launched their title defence in a spiteful Illawarra rugby clash.

Camden piled on six second-half tries, but the contest was marred by  a wild brawl involving the majority of the two teams.

Referee James Penman sent off Camden centre Lee Russell and Shamrocks rival Aaron Warren, competition officials confirmed.

A hearing for the incident will be held this week.

It took 40 minutes for premiers Camden to warm up, but they dished out a 38-nil thumping of Shamrocks in a spiteful clash to launch their title defence.

The Rams went to the break locked at nil-all, before Gavin Holder and flyhalf Josh Holman sparked the contest into action.

Meanwhile, the disrupted nature of Vikings draw effectively made it a trial game, so coach Shannon Fraser was delighted to bank a bonus point against Shoalhaven on Saturday.

The Wollongong club kicked off its Illawarra rugby season with a 27-17 victory, but will have to wait another three weeks to take the field again, with a general bye for Easter, then Vikings have another bye the following weekend.

Bouncing back from an early Shoalhaven try, Vikings took control of the game, scoring four tries to take a share of the competition ladder with Avondale and premiers Camden.

‘‘We’ve had a lack of trials in the preseason, so it was good just to have a hit out,’’ he said.

‘‘We certainly didn’t communicate it to the players, they had to be focused on playing well, but there was an element of trying a few things like you would in a trial.

‘‘It was pretty heavy going, so we narrowed up our approach and it was a pretty physical contest, Shoalhaven certainly defended quite well.’’

Forward Henry Swan and Josh Heggie were among Vikings’ standouts in the rugged victory.

In the other game, Avondale defied the conditions to produce an impressive 47-3 hammering of Tech-Waratahs. 

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