NRC: UC Vikings impress in big win over depleted Stars

by staff

The University of Canberra Vikings have continued their unbeaten season with a comprehensive 76-16 win over the Sydney Stars at Viking Park in the sides round five Buildcorp National Rugby Championship matchup.


The win is just one-point shy of the 61-point margin record set by the Melbourne Rising in their victory over Brisbane City in last year’s NRC (79-18).


Tuggeranong Vikings clubman Nigel Ah Wong scored four tries on his home turf in the dominant 11 tries to two win in front of a vocal crowd in Wanniassa.


The Stars came out of the blocks firing and had the early chances. A knock on at one end of the field was quickly capitalised by the home team. James Dargaville playing on the wing against his former NRC side made a great burst down one side of the field, before the ball was flung out to the other side where Ah Wong went over for the opening try of the match in the seventh minute.


Soon after the Vikings had their second try of the game with hooker Robbie Abel rolling his way over from close range. Christian Lealiifano’s conversion had the home side out to a 13-0 lead.


After that, the UC Vikings took the game by the scruff of the neck, and never looked back.


 Ita Vaea, who has been at his barnstorming best in the NRC, barged over from close range off the back of a scrum for the third, before Isaac Thompson finished off a backline move when Rodney Iona flicked it inside to the Vikings fullback who went over untouched under the posts.


Before the 30 minute mark the Vikings had all but sewn up the game with Vaea’s second of the game in a carbon copy of his first.


The UC Vikings were finding holes all over the park for their backs to run into, and in the 33rd minute, Ah Wong had his second of the night after going over from close range with the nod from the TMO to make the score 42-0.


Just before the break, the Stars went down a man with hooker Tom Coolican given a yellow card for a professional foul.


Ben Alexander was replaced by Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin at half-time by UC Vikings Head Coach Brad Harris after helping his front row dominate scrums in the opening forty.


The home side didn’t take long to get back into their scoring ways, Dargaville who came within millimetres of scoring three or four tries finally got on the scoresheet against his former side when he dived over in the corner to make it 47-0.


The Stars never stopped trying and were rewarded for their effort with centre Jim Stewart making the most of an attacking chance to get the visitors on the board.


That seemed to give the Stars a spark as they started to muscle up in defence with some big hits on the Vikings but another yellow card, this time to Tolu Latu, halted any momentum they had.


The Vikings scrum had been dominant throughout the night and that dominance earnt a penalty try to put the Vikings out to a 55-8 lead.


Ah Wong secured his hat trick when Dargaville, who was cut down millimetres from the line popped an easy pass to his outside centre in the 63rd minute.


Tom Carter, who as expected led from the front all night for the Stars, pushed his way over for the visitors second try in the 66th minute.


With the bench cleared fresh legs only saw the Vikings go on the attack until the final whistle.


Frankie Fanifo found space down the wing and managed to get the ball away to Rodney Iona who crossed for his first try of the season before Ah Wong capped off a memorable night by walking over for his fourth in the 78th minute.


The results sees UC Vikings remain undefeated heading into next weekend’s away match with the North Harbour Rays at Pittwater Oval. Perhaps an ominous positive for the stars is Brisbane City lost 79-18 to the Rising last year and went on to win the inaugural season of the competition.  


UC Vikings 76 (Tries: Ah Wong 4, Abel, Vaea 2, Thompson, Dargaville, Penalty try, Iona; Cons: Lealiifano 6/10, Thompson 1/1; defeated the Sydney Stars 16 (Tries: Stewart, Carter; Cons: McGregor 2)