A dominant display from NSW Country has seen them romp home over a heavily favoured University of Canberra Vikings side, scoring eight tries to four in their 60-28 bonus point win at Viking Park in Canberra.
A late flurry of points from the Vikings in the last twenty minutes only saved them some embarrassment, after the Eagles got out to an extraordinary 60-0 lead after an hour of play.
“No, I don’t think we expected that,” a rather stunned NSW Country captain Paddy Ryan told Fox Sports post-match, on the magnitude of the Eagles’ win.
“I don’t think [the Vikings] will play like that again, they probably had a bit of an off day that they won’t be happy with, but I know Canberra will be there at the business end of the season, so the boys are going to have to make sure they’re ready to go if we come across them again.”
In a start that mirrored that of their Queensland counterparts in Melbourne earlier, NSW Country raced out to a 30-point lead after the first thirty minutes of play, with the Vikings essentially locked into their own 22.
Alex Newsome, Rowan Perry against his old side, Sam Ward, and Ned Hanigan all scored tries in the Eagles’ outstanding first half, with Hanigan well on top of the head-to-head battle with his 2015 Country teammate, Wallabies and Brumbies lock Sam Carter.
After the break, it was just becoming ridiculous, with everything the Canberra side tried ending in an error, anything Country could conjure up resulting in yet more points.
Kyle Godwin notched his first points for his new side, and Perry scored his second after an audacious around-the-back pass from Newsome bounced up perfectly for him with no defenders anywhere near him.
Then, if that wasn’t enough, Dave Horwitz put through a pinpoint-accurate cross kick inside the Country half to find Reece Robinson, and the Waratahs flyer ran it in around the posts from halfway to raise the half century.
Newsome then scored his third long-range intercept try for this season’s Buildcorp NRC, but was then forced into a rest when he copped a yellow card soon after.
The Vikings eventually did get on the board inside the last fifteen minutes through Andrew Smith, two tries to Andrew Robinson, and Rory Arnold, as the UC side finally had some luck go their way.
The win means NSW Country have now beaten both of the 2015 NRC Finalists, and they can really set up their NRC campaign with a win over Melbourne Rising in Tamworth next Sunday afternoon.
UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA VIKINGS 28
Tries: A. Robinson 2, A. Smith, R. Arnold
Cons: N. Jooste 2/4
NSW COUNTRY EAGLES 60
Tries: R. Perry 2, A. Newsome 2, S. Ward, N. Hanigan, K. Godwin, R. Robinson
Cons: A. Deegan 5/7, T. Adams 1/1