Round 3 of the inaugural National Rugby Championships kicks off on Thursday the 4th of September, pinning the slow starting Rays and the high flying Eagles against each other.
The Rays have played one game in the first two rounds, losing 55 to 34 against the early front runners the Melbourne Rising. However they chanced their arm and managed to score 5 tries through: Ed Gower, David Feltscheer, Matt Lucas, Mitch Lewis and Dave Porecki. With a week off, they will have had time to regroup and settle their defence errors that plagued their first game.
Previous Results: L, B
The Eagles are in hot form early on in the competition, previously beating the Greater Sydney Rams 31-2 and Queensland Country 37-13, placing them second on the table to the Rising, on points difference. They will be confident and ready to fire, having shown that they can play at high intensity until the final minute.
Previous Results: W, W
Players to keep an eye out for:
NSW Country Eagles– The young Australian Under 20’s flyer, Andrew Kellaway, who set the IRB Junior World Cup alight, equalling the most tries ever at the tournament, is a constant danger. He has easily made the transition from under 20’s rugby to the NRC, demonstrating his hard running and pace, already scoring 4 tries in 2 games. He is set to be the best school boys talent since Kurtley Beale and will be a hot topic for years to come. A future star… who am I joking, a current star!
North Harbour Rays– Cam Crawford will look to insert himself into the game, this week from fullback (instead of wing) as Dave Feltscheer moved to the wing. He will be given freedom during the game as the Rays’ coach, Geoff Townsend, said that the back three will look to work as a unit, shifting around during the game. The 25 year old (Crawford), utility back had a ripper of a season for the Waratahs in 2013, however his 2014 season has been plagued by injuries. The new rules and increased pace of the NRC will be the perfect place to reignite his form.
Eagles: (1-8) Duncan CHUBB, Will WEEKS, Mike ALAALATOA, Cam TRELOAR, Mitch CHAPMAN, Tala GRAY, Will MILLER, Steve HOILES, (9-15) Brendan McKIBBIN, Sam WINDSOR, Andrew KELLAWAY, Ed STUBBS, Matt CARRARO (C), Samu WARA, Pat DELLIT.
Reserves: Ben SUISALA, Billy JOHNSTON, Clay BRODIE, Ben METWIJOW, Paul TUALA, Darcy ETRICH, Apakuki MA’AFU, Malakai WATENE-ZELEZNIAK
Rays: (1-8) Mitch LEWIS, Luke HOLMES (VC), Tobias GUKIBAU, Ed GOWER, Greg PETERSON (C), Michael WELLS, Kotoni ALE, Sam WARD, (9-15) Josh HOLMES, Hamish ANGUS, Harry JONES, Tom MATTHEWS, Michael ADAMS, Dave FELTSCHEER, Cam CRAWFORD.
Reserves: Dave PORECKI, Kevin McNAMARA, Nick FRASER, Ryan MELROSE, Harry BERGELIN, Matt LUCAS, Sam VAEVAE, Brian SEFANIA
Match Odds: (Sportsbet.com.au) as of 12am Thursday
Rays $3.75, Eagles $1.25
Eagles for a straight win $1.25 (SUCCESSFUL)
Risky Bet: Rays with the (+10.5) line $1.90 (UNSUCCESSFUL)
Dropped on your head as a baby bet: Cam Crawford first try scorer $unknown (UNSUCCESSFUL)
Eagles by 13 points (Eagles won by 12)
Written by Nelson Dale