NRC: Rays get in the right lane

NRC

Sam Lane harbours ambitions of a Super Rugby return

The Macquarie Uni North Harbour Rays have secured the services of outstanding Manly Marlins flyhalf Sam Lane for the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship season.

Lane was one of the first players to agree to terms with the Rays this week as he attempts to force his way back into Super Rugby after a tough break with injuries over the past couple of years.

The 24-year-old played two games for the Queensland Reds before injuring a knee and after recovering from that was training with the Waratahs before deciding to stand down from rugby to get the knee 100 percetn right.

He will give the Rays’ squad good depth in the flyhalf position with Hamish Angus, the man who started at No.10 in the majority of the games last season, also on board and showing good form for Warringah in the Shute Shield.

The two will go head to head this weekend when Warringah host the Manly Marlins at Pittwater Rugby Park on Saturday at 3pm.

Rays head coach Geoff Townsend is excited to be working with both Lane and Angus.

“All good teams need good decision makers and in Sam and Hamish we have guys that can direct a side around the field,” he said.

“They will both benefit from the tutelage of Julian Huxley who in my mind was one of the best kicking out of hand flyhalves that we have produced in Australian over the past 10 or 15 years.

“Julian was also a very good goal kicker in his day and he will be able to help Sam and Hamish with their goal kicking.”

Lane joins a number of last year’s squad to commit to the three-month NRC campaign once their Shute Shield commitments with their clubs finish.

The Holmes brothers, hooker Luke as well as scrumhalf cum winger Josh have also jumped on board.

Luke has already had input into the training and philosophy of the 2015 Rays group – like he did in 2014 – and will form a key part of the leadership group that coach Townsend is pulling together for this season.

Jack Dempsey, the Gordon flanker who made his Super Rugby debut with the Waratahs not that many weeks ago, will also be in the Rays’ colours again.

Dempsey has trained all years with the Tahs and has matured physically and mentally and is now dominating his opposition in Shute Shield games.

Other early adopters include Warringah duo Michael Adams and Dave Feltscheer who scored what many people say was the NRC try of the years of the inaugural season.

Mitch Lewis from the Manly Marlins has also agreed to wear the Rays’ jersey once again.

The full squad will be announced in coming weeks.

The draw will see the Rays open their season on Saturday, August 22 at Manly Oval with a family-friendly afternoon fixture against the Sydney Stars.

This game will have a 3pm kick-off and plans are in train for a number of major promotions in and around the game including having the great Sydney universities teams playing for a perpetual trophy.

The first game at Rat Park will be on Saturday, September 26 against the University of Canberra Vikings. This game will also have a family-friendly 3pm kickoff.

The other game at Manly Oval will be a broadcast game against the Melbourne Rising on Thursday, September 3 at 7.30pm while Rat Park will feature as the venue for the game against Queensland Country on Saturday, October 10 with a 3pm kickoff.

The Rays will feature in three broadcast games – v the Melbourne Rising on September 3, v Brisbane City on September 10 and v the Greater Sydney Rams on October 1.

The Rays NRC franchise is a joint venture of the Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs and Warringah clubs.

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