NRC: Super Rugby halves to do battle in the NRC

NRC
by Marty Cambridge

This weekend kicks off with an all-Sydney top-of-the-table clash while there's some teams fighting to keep their finals hopes alive. Here's the key-match ups ahead of round four Buildcorp NRC action. 

SYDNEY RAYS (1) V NSW COUNTRY EAGLES (2)

Saturday 17 September, 1:00pm at Pittwater Park

Jack Dempsey v Sam Figg.

There’s little doubt they are two of the most promising up-and-comers in their position in Australian rugby and the battle between the flankers promises to be crucial in the top of the table clash.  It will be just the second appearance for Jack Dempsey in the 2016 Buildcorp NRC after he was suspended for two games following a red card for multiple yellow-card offences in round one.  Eagles’ Sam Figg has been in tremendous touch for the Country side, picking up the man-of-the-match gong for his performance in Tamworth against Melbourne Rising.  The 24-year-old was part of the Australian Sevens set-up during 2016 and has again adapted quickly between the two formats.

Sam Figg has been on fire for the Eagles so far in 2016. Photo: NSW Country Eagles MediaStream online via foxsports.com.au.

MELBOURNE RISING (5) V BRISBANE CITY (6)

Saturday 17 September, 3:00pm at Harlequins Oval

The Nic(k)s.

In a genuine Super Rugby match-up, Nic Stirzaker and Nick Frisby will go head-head-head in a battle of the generals.  Both will be keen to stamp their authority on what is all but a must win game for both sides’ finals aspirations.  Stirzaker was a late withdrawal for the Rising last week for their clash in Tamworth, while Frisby has struggled to dominate like he has during the first two seasons of the NRC.  The two met just once in this year’s Super Rugby campaign with Stirzaker’s side coming out on top.  

Nick Frisby will have his work cut-out as he tries to get Brisbane's title defence back on track. Photo: Getty ImagesCatch all the NRC action LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS.

UC VIKINGS (3) V WESTERN SYDNEY RAMS (7)

Sunday 18 September, 1:00pm at Viking Park

The speedsters.

There’s going to be plenty of pace on display in this one. Teenager Nick Jooste will line-up opposite Olympic gold medalist Vatemo Ravouvou at fullback.  The number 15 jersey is hardly familiar for Jooste who usually finds himself playing in the halves while Ravouvou is playing just his second game in the 15-man format in his transition from Sevens.  The Rams will be hoping Ravouvou finds his feet soon as they look for their first win of the competition, Jooste looking to help his side push towards the finals.

Blink and you’ll miss these two on Sunday afternoon.

Vatemo Ravouvou will no doubt continue to improve in his transition to the 15-man game. Photo: Karen WatsonStream online via foxsports.com.au.

PERTH SPIRIT (4) V QUEENSLAND COUNTRY (8)

Sunday 18 September, 3:00pm at UWA Sports Park

The sizzling centres.

Few players have lit up the NRC so far in 2016 like Perth’s Bill Meakes and Queensland Country’s Izaia Perese.  No one was too certain how Meakes would go after returning from two years playing in England but if his early competition form is anything to go by, Western Force fans should be getting excited for 2017.  The 25-year-old seems the whole package, able to find the line set up his teammates and provide tough defence in the midfield. On the other side, Perese’s form in 2016 has simply been phenomenal, especially when you consider he’s part of a side yet to register a win.  He leads the stats for defenders beaten with 17 and has found himself on the try-scorers list in all three games this season.  There’s no doubt Reds coach Nick Stiles will be keeping a close eye on the teenager ahead of the Reds 2017 campaign.

Perese has been a shining light so far in 2016 for Toutai Kefu's Queensland Country. Photo: SportographyCatch all the NRC action LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS.

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