NRC Round 8 Preview Best Bets: North Harbour Rays v Brisbane City

Round 8 of the the fast-paced National Rugby Championships (NRC) kicks off with the seventh placed North Harbour Rays hosting the fourth placed Brisbane City.

The Rays have been the motley crew of the competition, in relation to both their multi-coloured jerseys and mixture of results and performances. With only two wins from six games so far this season, they are hanging on with a glimmer of hope for a finals berth.

The boys from north Sydney overcame a short turnaround following their draw with the Greater Sydney Rams to fight out another draw against the Vikings in Canberra only four days later. Not exactly an ideal preparation for an important game at the pointy end of the season.

Being a team made up from a majority of Shute Shield players, rather than Super Rugby players, the success of the team is built around a strong culture. The drive to perform for the players next to them is the reason they are still hanging on in this competition against heavy weights like the Rising, the Eagles and the Vikings, who are chock-a-block full of Super players.

The pigs (forward pack) have been lead around by 204cm el capitano Greg Peterson, with strong performances coming from his second row partner Ed Gower and the barging backrower Sam Ward.

Super Rugby nomad Josh Holmes has brought a lot of experience to the backline, leading them around the paddock, whilst being a calming influence. His ability to direct the forward traffic has also helped create a base to build off for their backline structures.

Michael Wells, who is hoping to make his national 7s debut in the Gold Coast 7s tournament, will be a big loss for the Rays.
Previous Results: L, B, L, W, W, D, D

Brisbane City have consistently been one of the strongest teams throughout the season, losing only to top dogs the Rising and an outstanding Rams outfit last week. If any team has the potential to strip the Rising of their impending title, it would be City on a good day.
With Quade Cooper still pushing for a Wallabies return through the NRC, alongside young guns like Samu Kerevi, the backline is their biggest weapon. 21 year old Nick Frisby has also shown his Super Rugby class, with some good performances at halfback.
The Brisbane side will again miss the impact of veteran loose forwards Liam Gill and Jake Schatz, however the strong performing captain Dave McDuling will look to work with Curtis Browning to lead by example and secure a play-off position.

Previous Results: W, W, L, W, D, W, L

Players to keep an eye out for:

North Harbour Rays-

Captain Greg Peterson is looking to pickup another Super Rugby contract.  Photo taken from www.rugbynews.net.au
Captain Greg Peterson is looking to pickup another Super Rugby contract.
Photo taken from http://www.rugbynews.net.au

Captain Greg Peterson will look to continue his high intensity and make an impact to regain a Super Rugby contract. He has been contracted with the Waratahs since 2012, however he has never made the shift to a Super Rugby player, playing most of his rugby with Manly in the Shute Shield.

At 6ft 8″ and 122kg, the 23 year old is the definition of a man mountain, couple this with his current work rate and he looks set to make an impact around the field.

Brisbane City-
When scanning over the Brisbane line-up, you can’t go past the name Quade Cooper. Recently an article was featured on Green and Gold Rugby criticising the lack of star power in the NRC. Star power? Cooper reeks of star power!

Quade Cooper is looking to fight his way back into the Wallabies squad through his NRC performances.  Photo by: Getty Images
Quade Cooper is looking to fight his way back into the Wallabies squad through his NRC performances.
Photo by: Getty Images

His rugby isn’t textbook, but his skills are sharp and he is willing to chance his arm for the better of his team. He pulls off things that leave rugby fans around the world drooling with excitement.

This man can throw a 30 metre bullet pass, BACKWARDS! He chips across field, inside his own in goal area and he has some of the biggest crowd pulling abilities of anyone in Australia if not international rugby. If this man doesn’t have star quality, who does?

This week he earns his second start in the NRC, as he looks to continue his bid for a Wallabies recall for the final Bledisloe and the Autumn internationals at the end of the year.

Lineups:  

Rays: (1-15) Mitch LEWIS, Luke HOLMES (VC), Tobias GUKIBAU, Ed GOWER, Greg PETERSON (C), Jack DEMPSEY, Boyd KILLINGWORTH, Sam WARD, Josh HOLMES, Scott DARUDA, Sireli TAGICAKIBAU, Malietoa HINGANO, Michael ADAMS, Harry JONES, David FELTSCHEER

Reserves:  Dave PORECKI, Rory O”CONNOR, Dane MARAKI, Nick FRASER, Ryan MELROSE, James CUNNINGHAM, Terry PRESTON, Hamish ANGUS, Brian SEFANAIA
City: (1-15) David FEAO, Andrew READY, Sef FAAGASE, Tim BUCHANAN, David McDULING (C), Adam KORCZYK, Michael GUNN, Curtis BROWNING, Nick FRISBY, Quade COOPER, Harry PARKER, Samu KEREVI, Toby WHITE, Chris KURIDRANI, Matt FEAUNATI
Reserves: Matt MAFI, Pettowa PARAKA, Phil KITE, Marco KOTZE, Chazz MAHINA, Brad WILKIN, Jack MULLINS, Jake McINTYRE
Bets: Match Odds: (Sportsbet.com.au) as of 4pm Thursday Rays $2.25, City $1.64,
Safe Bet: Line: Brisbane City (-3.5) $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Risky Bet: To score first Lead at H/T &
win: Brisbane City $3.24 (Sportsbet)
Dropped on your head as a baby bet: First tryscorer: Samu Kerevi $11
Prediction: The forward pack will have a large input into tonight’s result, It will be a tight game, however Brisbane will run away with it in the end. City by 8 points.

Can’t get to the game? Watch the game on Fox Sports from 7:30pm

Written by Nelson Dale

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