NRC Round 4 Preview & Best Bets: Greater Sydney Rams vs Sydney Stars

Vasa Falaelli taking the ball up for the Greater Sydney Rams against Canberra Vikings. Photo by J.B-Photography
Vasa Falaelli taking the ball up for the Greater Sydney Rams against Canberra Vikings. Photo by J.B-Photography

Round 4 of the National Rugby Championships continues on Saturday, at Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta. The Rams will be hoping to barge home their second straight victory and their first home win, while the Stars aim to get off the blocks for their 2014 campaign.

University of Western Sydney (sponsors of the Rams) vs Sydney Uni (the Stars), Greater Sydney vs lesser Sydney, #getrammed vs #twinkletwinkle, mate against mate! This Sydney derby has all the ingredients to shape up as a tight clash.
The Rams return home after claiming their first win against Perth Spirit, 34-44. True to form, they scored first through a Ben Volavola penalty, remaining the only team who is set to kick the scoreboard over through an early penalty. After ascending to a 10 point lead through a converted try to Taqele ‘Big T’ Naiyaravoro, they went missing until the second half, finishing strong and scoring routinely through the last 40 minutes.
Each week the Rams’ attacking and defensive structures have been emerging more and more, which culminated toward the back end of the Spirit game. They will look to continue their ascent to the finals from Pirtek after two disappointing loses in the first two rounds.
Benn Robinson has been named at number 1 for the Rams, after training with the Wallabies mid week. He is likely to be reinvigorated after getting a sniff at the green and gold jersey he so badly wants to don again.
Previous Results: L, L, W
The Stars are yet to bring home the goods from two games so far this season. With Waratahs’ players sprinkled through the starting lineup, there should be enough experience wearing yellow today to regroup and aim for the stars. Or at least to the fifth or sixth row.
The consistent problem for the boys from the inner city, has been staying competitive for 80 minutes. After leading Brisbane 20-8 late in the first half, they dropped 37 points to lose 45-20. Similarly at the 30 minute mark against the Rising, the scores were all drawn up, before they again let in 32 points to lose 45-13. Whether this is an issue of fitness or mentality, it will need to be addressed quickly if they want to earn a W this weekend. Ex-Australian 7s’ player Michael Hodge returns to the squad for the Stars at inside centre and will be hoping to make an impact to a relatively flat backline.
Previous Results: L, L, 

Players to keep an eye out for:

Taqele had a strong debut season with the Tahs in 2014.  Photo taken from: Supplied Report by: Indra Singh
Taqele had a strong debut season with the Tahs in 2014.
Photo taken from report by: Indra Singh
Greater Sydney Rams– Taqele Naiyaravaro, sometimes known as the ‘Flying Fijian’, has barged himself into some form off the back of a hat trick against the
Perth Spirit. The 115Kg winger has been reeking havoc amongst opposition back lines and will look to insert himself into todays game off an improving backline.
James Dargaville is striving for a Super Rugby contract. Photo from
James Dargaville is striving for a Super Rugby contract. Photo from

Sydney Stars- Taqele’s opposite number, James Dargavile has continued his strong Shute Shield form into the NRC, scoring in both Stars showings to date. Being named in this years Shute Shield team of the year, he has been labelled as “ready to go” for a Super contract by Chris Malone. If Dargaville sees space in todays game, he will be sure to beat a few defenders and rake in the run meters.

Lineups: Rams: (1-15) Benn Robinson, Hugh Roach, Guy Millar, Jared Barry, Steve Mafi, Hugh Perrett, Chris Alcock, Jed Holloway (C), Mark Swanepoel, Ben Volavola, Taqele Naiyaravaro, Michael McDougall, Lalakai Foketi, Jarome McKenzie, Dane Chisholm
Reserves: Maile Ngauamo, Jed Gillespie, Dave Lolohea, Dylan Sigg, Pat Sio, Vasa Falaeli’i, Jai Ayoub 23, Henry Seavula
Stars: (1-15) Jeremy Tilse, Tom Coolican, Paddy Ryan, Andrew Leota, Will Skelton, Tipiloma Kaveinga, Patrick McCutcheon (C), Sam Quinn, Jake Gordon, Stuart Dunbar, Matthew Kenny, Michael Hodge, Jim Stewart, James Dargaville, Jack Macklin
Reserves: James Willan, Tom Robertson, Laurie Weeks, Matthew Philip, Hugo Dessens, Jock Merriman, Jonathan Fakai, Jono Sullivan
Bets: Match Odds: ( as of 10pm Friday Rams $1.39, Stars $3
Safe Bet: Head to head: Rams to win $1.39
Risky Bet: Line: Rams (-7.5) line $1.90
Dropped on your head as a baby bet: First try scorer: Jerome Mckenzie $unknown
Prediction: Rams to win convincingly by 13 points
Written by Nelson Dale

Can’t get to the game? Live stream it from 3pm here:

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