NRC: New Force signing heads west to take on Super Rugby incumbent

NRC
by Marty Cambridge

Two best mates will square-off in Melbourne while in Perth we see the new Western Force signing take on the man he’ll be battling for a Super Rugby starting spot.  Here’s the key match-ups for Round 6 of the Buildcorp NRC.

QUEENSLAND COUNTRY (8) V NSW COUNTRY EAGLES (1)

Saturday 1 October, 1:00pm at Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba 

Winless v undefeated.

Two sides with complete opposite 2016 seasons.  The form guide says the Eagles should do it easy but they’ll have to travel to Toowoomba where no doubt the Queensland boys will be desperate to get their first win of the year in front of a parochial home crowd.  Brad Thorn’s inclusion in the first XV is a massive boost for the Queensland side and with Eagles coach Darren Coleman resting a couple of his stars, will we see the NRC upset of the year?

Queensland Country haven't had too much to smile about so far in 2016. photo: Getty Images

SYDNEY RAYS (2) V UC VIKINGS (4)

Saturday 1 October, 3:00pm at Pittwater Park

Young gun centres. 

In a mouth-watering match up Irae Simone will go head-to-head with Jordan Jackson-Hope.  Simone has been one of the finds of this year’s competition and will certainly feature in Super Rugby in the near future.  He’ll go up against Australian Under-20s representative, Jackson-Hope who made his debut for the Brumbies this year.

Irae Simone scored two tries against Brisbane City last weekend. Photo: Getty Images

MELBOURNE RISING (3) V WESTERN SYDNEY RAMS (6)

Sunday 2 October, 3:00pm (AEDT) at Harlequins Oval 

The best mates.

Will Skelton and Steve Cummins have known each other since they were 11 and despite both having played plenty of Super Rugby for the Waratahs and Rebels respectively they’ve never faced each other. In fact, the last time they lined-up opposite each other was in a 2013 Shute Shield game.  That changes this weekend when they square-off at Harlequins Oval where only one of them will get to hold up the Horan-Little Shield.

PERTH SPIRIT (5) V BRISBANE CITY (7)

Sunday 2 October, 2:00pm (AWST) at UWA Sports Park

The Wallaby v the new signing

If there’s one forward who’s taking the NRC by storm it’s 21-year-old Isi Naisarani.  The huge no. 8 has recently signed a deal with the Western Force for next year and will come up against incumbent Force no.8 Ben McCalman this weekend.  Wallaby-capped McCalman is still on the comeback trail from injury and will no doubt want to stamp his authority over the young gun at UWA Sports Park.

Ben McCalman has 91 Super Rugby caps for the Western Force. Photo: ARU Media/StuWalmsley

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