NRC: Sevens stars return to 15-man game in NRC

by Marty Cambridge

The Sydney Rays and Perth Spirit will clash at North Sydney Oval on Friday night at 6:30pm as both sides look to continue their perfect starts to their campaigns.

Perth were ultra-impressive in round one at home, dispatching of the highly fancied Melbourne Rising while the Rays beat the Rams in a try-fest at North Sydney. 

Sydney are boosted by the inclusion of Men’s Sevens stars Cam Clark who will start at fullback and Con Foley, on the bench, both make their long awaited comeback to the 15-man game. 

"Fullback is definitely where I feel most comfortable,” Clark told Fairfax Media.

“It's the patterns and calls that I have had to learn quite quickly, along with my timing and positional play.

“I've always wanted to have a crack at the 15-man game and looking at the Olympics I saw it as a good way to finish my Sevens time for the moment.”

New New South Wales signing Michael Wells was unavailable for round one but is a straight swap at no. 6 for Waratah Jack Dempsey, who’s suspended for two matches after receiving two yellow cards last weekend.

Despite their first round victory, Perth struggled in the scrum and have made some changes with Anaru Rangi, Laione Mulikihaamea and Shambeckler Vui forming an all new front row.


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“In terms of things to work on the scrum is one thing and hopefully a few changes we have made this week will help us improve there and we will just focus on the things we can control and work towards our goals,” Spirit coach Dwayne Nestor said.

The backs however remain unchanged with last week’s Man of the Match, Jono Lance set to once again skipper the side.

“I think a lot of the backs had really good games,” Nestor said.

“Billy Meakes was awesome, Ryan Louwrens and Jono Lance both had good games, Ben Tapuai is really excited to be playing good rugby and then the club guys, Eric Vasukicakau and Manihera Eden were really good on debut.”

Round two of the NRC coincides with the #Pass4Prostate campaign which will raise awareness for prostate cancer.

Players from the home team will wear pale blue socks while Astellas Pharma Australia will contribute $10,000 to the cause.

Sydney Rays

Starting (1-15): Rory O’Connor, Damien Fitzpatrick, Angus Ta-avao, Connor Vest, Nick Palmer, Michael Wells, Will Miller, Hugh Sinclair, Matt Lucas (c), Angus Sinclair, Harry Jones, Irae Simone, Seb Wileman, Richard Woolf, Cameron Clark.

Reserves: James Hilterbrand, Ezra Luxton, Lawrance Hunting, Adrian Hall, Michael Smith, Dewet Roos, Sam Lane, Con Foley.

Perth Spirit

Starting (1-15): Laione Mulikihaamea, Anaru Rangi, Shambeckler Vui, Kieran Stringer, Grayson Knapp, Brynard Stander, Richard Hardwick, Onehunga Havili, Ryan Louwrens, Jono Lance (c), Eric Vasukicakau, Ben Tapuai, Billy Meakes, Luke Morahan, Manihera Eden.

Reserves: Harry Scoble, Mees Erasmus, Beau King, Auega Seumanutafa, Hadleigh May, Michael Ruru, Aj Alatimu, Ammon Matuauto.

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