Boosted by the return of four Waratahs, the Beasties believe their time has come to teach the students a lesson.
That’s the bold prediction from NSW vice-captain Alex Newsome who will return to the Eastern Suburbs first grade lineup for Saturday’s Shute Shield clash with Sydney University.
“I almost hate Uni as much as I love Easts,” Newsome said.
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“I haven’t played them in a few years and I don’t know if I’ve ever beaten them so I’m looking forward to ripping into those blokes.”
The match – which will be live streamed on The Daily Telegraph’s website – was sold out two days ago after Newsome, Lalakai Foketi, Tom Staniforth and Charlie Gamble were released from the Waratahs biosecurity bubble and given the green light to return to Woollahra Oval.
They headed straight to training and Easts head coach Pauliasi Taumoepeau named all four in his first grade side for the twilight match that will be called by Tony Lewis and legendary commentator Gordon Bray.
“How good’s that? The voice of rugby,” Newsome said.
“Because of the COVID restrictions, a lot of people can’t come to the game but it’s going to be great.
“We’ve certainly got a quality team that can do the job against Uni.”
If there’s been an unexpected benefit from all the disruption that COVID-19 has had on rugby this season, it’s that Super Rugby players will get to spend a lot more time with their club sides now that Super Rugby AU has ended.
Currently seventh on the ladder, it’s a match that Easts need to win to stay in playoff contention while Sydney Uni, the defending champions, are cruising along in second spot.
“I can’t wait, to be honest,” Newsome said.
“Having played colts there and having been at the club since 2013, I’ve got a lot of mates there.
”I played colts with a few of the boys like Jack Grant, who’s our captain. The first game I ever played for Easts, he was on my team.
“The coach, Pauliasi Taumoepeau, I had him as my colts’ coach so I’ve known him for a long time and he’s doing a great job with the crew.”
In what could be a sign of the future, Easts have paid for three television cameras to broadcast the game, which has been pushed back to 5pm on Saturday so as not to clash with 7TWO’s blockbuster match of the round at 3pm, Norths v Randwick.
“Everyone knows Easts is a great club socially but the footy side of things is going really well,” Newsome said.
“This is my first game this year and I only played a couple of games last year before I got injured playing against Manly.
“So I haven’t played many games last couple of years, so I’m looking forward to getting back into it and the run to the finals.”