New England Rugby Union: Elks trounce students

DOMINANT: Alipate Kaufana puts a kick in against Albies on Saturday. Photo: Brenton Hodge.
DOMINANT: Alipate Kaufana puts a kick in against Albies on Saturday. Photo: Brenton Hodge.

The Glen Innes Elks have rebounded from two losses and a forfeit in formidable style.

The Elks faced St Albert's College for round six on Saturday and, despite starting the clash with 15 players, finished with a 36-12 victory.

Coach Sam Price lauded the side's defence.

"It was pretty exciting to get back to some of that form we had in the earlier rounds," he said.

"I think most of that came from really solid defence.

"When we did have the footy we held on to it really well and capitalised on it."

The Elks have played most of their matches without substitute players on the bench. Price was impressed with how the side rallied late in the match.

"Everyone really dug deep particularly towards the end of the second-half where fitness was really starting to fall away and they controlled the footy in those late parts of the game," he said.

"In the last couple of games, even when we lost to the Blues, I think it was 14-12 at half-time and it was just that back end of the second-half that really killed us.

"The boys didn't let that come into the game, it was really good to see."

Price highlighted Kiteau Fortu as being the standout with a hat-trick.

"A couple of individual brilliances there, a chip over the top and a regather to run away with it," he said.

The Elks' next challenge is an away trip against the Armidale Blues.

They've shared the spoils with the Blues this year with one with apiece.

"They play such a similar game to us, normally quite strong in the forwards," Price said.

"The last time we played them they had some really quick outside backs that just cut us to pieces when that fitness was an issue.

"It will be a really good test to see how we are going and if we can back it up."

But before they get on the park, the Elks are aiming to pull together a full side.

"We have only had the one game in Armidale so far and we went down there with 15 players and no bench," Price said.

"That is what we are getting at a home game so it is probably not going to be any better in Armidale but we will see what happens.

"It will be a good test for us to see if we can back it up and get some good numbers down there to play."