NRC: Jurd heads home for Country clash

by Marty Cambridge

Queensland Country won’t feature in the NRC finals but there’s still plenty to play for this weekend against the table-topping NSW Country Eagles, especially for winger Liam Jurd.

The 20-year-old will play his first game back at his hometown of Toowoomba since he finished school nearly three years ago.

He has since gone on to be part of the Queensland Reds premiership winning Under-20s side and was also selected in the Australian side for the World U20s Championships in England.

“I love getting back up there (Toowoomba), it will be great to play in front of family and friends, the home-crowd will be really nice,” Jurd said.

The speedster will line-up on the wing on Saturday and knew if he ever got the chance to play in the Buildcorp NRC there was no doubt which jersey he wanted to wear.

Liam Jurd heads back to where it all began in Round Six of the Buildcorp NRC. Photo: Brendan Hertel“I think growing up in Toowoomba, it’s seen as a bit more of a county city, a lot of the Brisbane people think we’re pretty country there so I was always happy to be affiliated with the Queensland Country team,” he said.

“I was really hoping that I would represent them in the NRC, it’s worked out well.”

It’s working out better than well actually, Jurd will run out with World Cup winner, Brad Thorn, who’s also been named to start this weekend.

“Everyone’s pretty keen to play alongside an All Blacks legend, it’s super exciting,” Jurd said.

“I never thought I’d be playing with him, It’s pretty incredible to say you’ve played alongside Brad Thorn. It’s surreal.”

Liam Jurd crossing the line for the Australian Under-20s side against Italy in June. Photo: Getty ImagesThe side is still looking for their first win of 2016, the challenge this weekend against the undefeated Eagles making that task no easier.

However, the business student is optimistic about his side’s chances of causing an upset.

“We were underdogs last year against them and we beat them, we think we can probably do that again this weekend and knock-off the best side in the competition,” Jurd said.

The two sides meet at Clive Berghofer Stadium on Saturday with kick-off scheduled for 1:00pm.