With the 2016 Buildcorp NRC getting underway this weekend. Rugby.com.au preview the opening day of action.
Perth Spirit vs Melbourne Rising
Melbourne travel to Western Australia for the opening game of the season. The Rising made the finals for the second consecutive year in 2015 while 2014 runners-up Perth failed to make the top four. Both sides have high expectations heading into 2016 and will be hoping for the perfect start.
Key Match up
The halves battle in this one is as quality as we will see in the Buildcorp NRC this season. The home team’s pairing of Ryan Louwrens and last year’s Buildcorp NRC Player of the Year Jono Lance have plenty of Super Rugby experience while Nic Stirzaker and Jake Debreczeni have built a strong combination at the Rebels.
Mees Erasmus, Harry Scoble, Jermaine Ainsley, Kieran Stringer, Grayson Knapp, Brynard Stander, Richard Hardwick, Onehunga Havilli, Ryan Louwrens, Jono Lance, Eric Vasukicakau, Ben Tapuai, Billy Meakes, Luke Morahan, Manihera Eden.
Reserves: Tom Sheminant, Laione Mulikihaamea, Shambeckler Vui, Kane Koteka, Hadleigh May, Michael Ruru, AJ Alatimu, Ammon Matuauto.
Cruze Ah Nau, Pat Leafa, Tim, Metcher, Sam Jeffries, Steve Cummins, Rob Leota, Jordy Reid, Harley Fox, Nic Stirzaker, Jack Debreczeni, Tom English, Sione Tuipulotu, Sefa Naivalu, Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano, Jonah Placid.
Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Tom Moloney, Tyrel Lomax, Alex Toolis, Ikapote Tupai, Ben Meehan, Lloyd Johansson, Taiso Silafai-Leaana.
The teams clash at UWA Sports Park at 11:00am local time (1:00pm AEST).
NSW Country Eagles vs Brisbane City
The Country Eagles have a tough encounter first up against the only side to have ever lifted the Buildcorp NRC trophy. There’s no doubt the NSW side has a star-studded backline that includes new recruit Kyle Godwin. Brisbane City have made a few changes since last year, a new coach in Rod Seib and the halves pairing of Nick Frisby and Jake McIntyre unavailable this week. They do have Leroy Houston in the side at No.8 and also Andrew Ready who had a breakout Super Rugby season in 2016.
Key Match up
After cementing a starting spot in the Reds team this year Ready will hope to carry his form into the NRC, while Tolu Latu had an injury-riddled 2016. Now he’s back to full fitness the Waratah will be keen to see how he matches up against one of Australia’s up and coming hookers
NSW Country Eagles
Sonny Satuala, Tolu Latu, Samuel Needs, Ned Hanigan, Timothy Buchanan, Jake Wainwright, Rowan Perry, Sam Ward, Jake Gordon, Andrew Deegan, Alex Newsome, Kyle Godwin, David Horwitz, Reece Robinson, Andrew Kellaway.
Reserves: Jedidiah Gillespie, Clarrie Moore, Cameron Beetham, Ryan McCauley, Mark Baldwin, Tayler Adams, Samuel Figg, Angus Roberts
Pettowa Paraka, Andrew Ready, Sam Talakai, David Findlay-Henaway, Lukhan Tui, Luke Beauchamp, Michael Gunn , Leroy Houston, Moses Sorovi, Jake Strachan, Alex Gibbon, Nathan Russell, Toby White, Chris Kuridrani, Patrick James.
Reserves: Matt Mafi, Markus Vanzati, Feao Fotuaika, Isi Naisarani, Jack de Guingand, Angus Fowler, Levi Aumua, Brad Lacey.
The two sides begin their 2016 campaigns at Sydney Uni on Saturday at 3:00pm.
All of the action from this year’s Buildcorp NRC will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.