27 July 2003

In an almighty battle of gladiatorial grunt, the Land Rover Defenders won 17 to 10 over Sony Wega All Stars in a stunning display of power and ice for the world's only official game of Snow Rugby in Perisher Blue.

Altitude training gave the advantage
The attacking play that marked the inaugural game last year, evolved this year into a defensive, hard and hazardous match. In the opening moment of the game a clash between Mark Carroll and local match fit altitude trained players shook the match into blistering action. The former league star was surprised when he was taken in an uncustomary bone crunching fashion.

The first third saw two tries, one conversion and one disallowed try to Land Rover Defenders. Not to be outdone, the Sony Wega All Stars responded with two tries in the second third. The final try went to the Defenders in the final third. Tempers flared in the icy conditions when Spudd Carroll and John (Vulcan) Seru faced off before kick off.

Slippery defence
Proving that professional experience and tactical judgement is a match for altitude fitness, Steve Tuynman from the All Stars made sure the ball saw plenty of air and kept possession by passing quickly in the face of the near-impossible ball control environment.

Land Rover Defenders Former Wallaby Steve Lidbury put patience to the test bamboozling the Wega team with stunning defense. The surprise this year was the number of rolling mauls and the tight point score. This year's score proved the Land Rover Defenders had the numbers and the defence!

Fresh snow affected score
More than 70cm of snow in the last two days made conditions even more difficult for players. Steve Lidbury, captain of the Defenders said "The snow is so soft and deep that it was impossible to get real acceleration and I think that was reflected in the final score". Referee Mark Ella noted "The ball moved well this year, fewer problems with possession and the conditions meant that the game was more controlled. "

Players were Jindabyne Bush Pigs and rugby greats, Steve Tuynman, Steve Lidbury, Mark Carroll, Brad and Matt Burke and league ring ins Phil Blake and Mark (Spudd) Carroll with former ironman Guy Andrews thrown in for good measure.

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