NRC: Battle of the number 10s in NRC round three

by Marty Cambridge

With the Buildcorp NRC action heating up as we move into round three, takes a look at the key match-ups ahead of this weekend's fixtures.  

Western Sydney Rams (7) v Perth Spirit (6)

Saturday 10 September, 1:00pm at Concord Oval

The number 10s.

Perth Spirit’s Jono Lance and the Western Sydney Rams’ Paul Asquith will square off at Concord Oval on Saturday afternoon in a battle between the reliable and the rising star. Both will have chief playmaking responsibility for their sides and will also skipper their teams in the round three encounter. Lance will know there’s pressure on him to perform for his new NRC club after taking out the competition MVP in 2015, playing for the NSW County Eagles. Asquith is still finding his best position in the backline of the 15-man format since his return from Sevens last year and this will be another telling test for him.

Jono Lance has been copping some extra attention from opposing defences in the first two rounds. Photo: Getty Images.Stream online via

Queensland Country (8) v Sydney Rays (1)

Saturday 10 September, 3:00pm at Bond University

First v last.

On past results this game should be a cakewalk for the Sydney Rays.  They’ve had two bonus point wins to start 2016 while Queensland Country are yet to trouble the points column on the NRC ladder. Country coach Toutai Kefu has responded to their winless start, ringing in the changes dropping Mack Mason to the bench and giving Reds veteran Ben Daley his first 2016 start.  There’s no doubt his side will be desperate to get their first win of the season but they’ll have to find a way to stop Rays skipper Matt Lucas, flyhalf Angus Sinclair and inside centre Irae Simone, who have formed a formidable combination in the first two rounds.

Angus Sinclair has been on fire for the Rays in the first two rounds. Photo: Getty ImagesCatch all the NRC action LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.

Brisbane City (5) v UC Vikings (4)

Sunday 11 September, 1:00pm at Ballymore Oval

The starters vs the finishers.

In any game of rugby, every player has the opportunity to make an impact but in this game the full matchday 23 will be called on more than most. The Vikings bench has over 150 Super Rugby caps worth of experience while Brisbane City’s starting XV have quality all over the park.  Halves pairing Nick Frisby and Jake McIntyre will need to get the defending premiers off to a solid start because the Vikings will come home with a wet sail, with the likes of Henry Speight, Jarrad Butler and Joe Powell in the reserves. 

Nick Frisby will be hoping his side can defend the Horan-Little Shield against the UC Vikings at Ballymore. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyStream online via

NSW Country Eagles (2) v Melbourne Rising (3)

Sunday 11 September, 3:00pm at Magpies Rugby Club, Tamworth

The backline.

The Country Eagles outside backs were superb in a round two demolition of the Vikings.  The combination between Kyle Godwin and David Horwitz in the midfield is as good as any in the competition and when you throw Reece Robinson and 2016’s top try scorer Alex Newsome on the wings, the Rising will have their work cut out.  Melbourne coach Zane Hilton will be hoping the experiment of Jack Debreczeni at fullback and Ben Meehan at flyhalf will continue to reap rewards and will know he can call on Super Sefa Naivalu who’s been named on the bench.

Catch all the NRC action LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.