NRC: UC Vikings out run Rams

by Rugby Australia

The University of Canberra Vikings made it two wins from two starts in the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship with a 58-26 thumping of the Greater Sydney Rams at Viking Park on Saturday.

Vikings captain Jarrad Butler and winger Jerome Niumata each crossed for two tries in the eight tries to four romp.

After having round one off with the bye, the UC Vikings are a perfect two from two and have two bonus points in the bag in the NRC and will be looking to make it three in a row when they take on the Perth Spirit in Perth next Saturday.

The home side started with a bang, skipper Butler diving over the first try of the match in the third minute of the match.

Less than six minutes later Jerome Niumata scored his first try of the afternoon, latching onto some great lead up play from Ita Vaea to fly over in the corner, a trademark finish for the Tuggeranong Vikings flyer.

Fellow winger Lausii Taliauli came close to making it three tries from three matches, but couldn’t hold onto the ball over the line after kicking through for himself from halfway.

It didn’t take long before the lead was extended, Butler dived over from close range again and the lead was out to 21-0.

The Rams pegged one back in the 27th minute, former Gunghalin Eagles player Sam Needs diving over to make it 21-5.

The Greater Sydney side kept things interesting heading into half-time with Brad Curtis going in next to the posts.

With the game tight heading into the break the Vikings flexed their muscle. A raif on the Rams line from the Vikings forwards ended with a try to Australian Super Rugby Rookie of the Year Rory Arnold just before the break. The half-time score was 29-13.

Taliauli didn’t return after half-time, a hamstring injury in the first half meant he would be rested as a precautionary measure and replaced by Frankie Fainifo on the wing.

The Rams started the stronger of the two sides after the break, Cohen Mason barged over to make it 29-18, before Fainifo was on the end of some great backline play and crossed in the corner for his first try as a UC Viking.

Christian Lealiifano, in his first appearance since representing the World XV and Barbarians side’s overseas had the radar on and converted Fainifo’s from the sideline, Lealiifano finished with a personal tally of 18 points.

From there the Vikings ran away with it.

Ita Vaea, Dean Oakman-Hunt and Niumata ae UC Vikings run away with the eight tries to four, 58-26 win.

Among the many highlights for the 2178 fans who came out to the match was the crunching defense of Jordan Smiler.

The big flanker will surely feature in highlights packages this week for an absolute bell ringer on one of the Rams young forwards late in the match.

It was also a milestone day for the Vikings with both Brent Hamlin and Aidan Toua making their debut’s in the NRC late in the match.

After the match the players mingled with fans on the field, posing for photos and signing autographs.

UC Vikings Head Coach Brad Harris said there’s still room for improvement for the side.

“We’re happy with the score line, we’re happy with the bonus point,” Harris said.

“The boys have worked really hard to put themselves in this position which is really pleasing.

 “We travel to Perth next Saturday and back here on Thursday night to take on the Star so very busy period coming up for us.”

Meanwhile, the ACT Griffins easily beat the Greater Sydney Rams development squad 81-22 in the curtain-raiser.