Uni coach McCreedy faces patch-up job for Shamrocks clash

Shamrocks' Luke Tonegato tackles University's Wayne Ngatai during an earlier clash this year. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Shamrocks' Luke Tonegato tackles University's Wayne Ngatai during an earlier clash this year. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

RUGBY UNION

University coach Shaun McCreedy will do his best patchwork job on his injury-ravaged side for Saturday's meeting with Woonona at University Oval.

The Mallee Bulls team to face Shamrocks will look nothing like the side that went within a whisker of inflicting Avondale's first loss of the season last week.

Injuries have decimated the Bulls while the absence of their NSW Country reps further weakened McCreedy's playing roster.

"We took a massive injury toll last week," McCreedy said.

"We lost four or five to long-term injuries and with the Country boys away this week, we'll have seven or eight new faces against Shamrocks."

Uni held a 15-3 lead against Avondale but the loss of key players during the game helped the Wombats steal an 18-15 victory with a last-minute try.

"The boys were a bit disappointed," McCreedy said.

"We just didn't put enough points on the board in the first half and it came back to hurt us in the second half. We missed two penalty kicks and bombed two tries and we turned the ball over too much in the second half.

"We'd lost four players by half-time and lost another three in the second half. We just couldn't quite hang on.

"We just have to regroup again and manage this holiday period with players away. It's a matter of taking stock and getting through these next few weeks."

Uni won six straight before the loss to Avondale. On the bright side, the Bulls kept hold of second spot.

The sixth-placed Rocks need to keep winning to stay in top-four contention. Their previous clash with Uni at Ocean Park ended in a 15-15 draw.

"Shamrocks have had a couple of good wins lately and we know this week's not going to be an easy game with our injury toll," McCreedy said. "We've told our experienced players that they'll have to step up this week. We need them to lead from the front and try to get us through."

Third-placed Camden host fourth-placed Kiama in a crucial game for both teams.

Wollongong Vikings should beat Bowral and move back into the top four, while Avondale are expected to brush Shoalhaven aside.

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