NRC: It's all on the line as NRC Round Seven teams revealed

by Marty Cambridge

There is just one round to go in the Builcorp NRC it's all on the line, with two teams guaranteed finals and four others battling it out to keep their season alive.  Here are the teams. 

Western Sydney Rams (6) v NSW Country Eagles (1)

Saturday 8 October, 1:00pm (AEDT) at Concord Oval

The Western Sydney Rams season goes on the line this weekend and have named a largely unchanged side that has helped them to two consecutive wins.  Will Skelton comes back in after missing last weekend's victory over the Rising, in time for the start of the BuildcorpNRC Pacific Island Round.  Skipper, Paul Asquith will again play in the centres, allowing livewire Mitch Walton to direct traffic from flyhalf. 

The Country Eagles have made a remarkable nine changes to the side that lost last weekend in Toowoomba.   Superb scrumhalf Jake Gordon returns to partner Andrew Deegan in the halves while Andrew Kellaway makes his comeback from injury to play just his third fixture of the season to push Reece Robinson back to the wing.  Coach Darren Coleman has named a strong backrow in Sam Figg, Rowan Perry and Sam Ward who have all been in great form for the ladder-leaders in 2016.

Western Sydney Rams

Starting 1-15: Matt Gibbon, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Lolohea, Vaitoa Senio Toleafoa, Will Skelton, Rhys Allen, Tupou Sopoaga, Tyrone Viiga, Waldo Wessels, Mitch Walton, Luke Smart, Paul Asquith (c), Mau David Minute, Roland-Keni Kotobolavu, Albert Nikoro.

Reserves: Aaron Blacklock, Andrew Tuala, Jack Payne, Tom Alexander, Jodan Tuapou, Harrison Goddard, Selesitino Kalounivale, Vatemo Ravouvou. 

NSW Country Eagles

Starting 1-15: Paddy Ryan (c), Folau Fainga’a, Sam Needs, Ryan McCauley, Tim Buchanan, Sam Figg, Rowan Perry, Sam Ward, Jake Gordon, Andrew Deegan, Alex Newsome, Kyle Godwin, David Horwitz, Reece Robinson, Andrew Kellaway. 

Reserves: Luke Holmes, Jed Gillespie, Cameron Betham, Rohan O’Regan, Tom Cusack, Tayler Adams, Apakuki Ma’afu, Angus Roberts.

Jake Gordon scored a hat-trick before being rested in last weekend's loss. Photo: Getty ImagesStream online via

UC Vikings (5) v Perth Spirit (3)

Saturday 1 October, 3:00pm (AEDT) at Viking Park

The UC Vikings have called on 72-cap Wallaby veteran, Ben Alexander for the first time this season in their do or die clash in the Buildcorp NRC.  In a strong line-up named by head coach Wayne Southwell, fellow Wallaby capped players Josh Mann-Rea and Sam Carter will also feature in the first XV.  Isaac Thompson gets his first start at number 10 and will partner Joe Powell in the halves.

Perth will be guaranteed a top-four spot if they beat the Vikings in Canberra and have recalled Jonno Lance to help get them across the line.   In other changes to the side, Ross Haylett-Petty moves to his preferred position of blindside flanker, while flyer Eric Vasukickakau returns to the wing after being rested.  Western Force regular Ian Prior will start and partner Lance in the halves for the first time this NRC season.

UC Vikings

Starting 1-15: Sione Taula, Josh Mann-Rea, Ben Alexander, Tom Staniforth, Sam Carter, Jordan Smiler, Dan Penca, Jarrad Butler (c), Joe Powell, Isaac Thompson, Lausii Taliauli, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Andrew Smith, Eli Sinoti, Robbie Coleman (c).

Reserves: Robbie Abel, Faalelei Sione, Raymond Dobson, Blake Enever, Dean Oakman-Hunt, Brent Hamlin, Alex Horan, Nick Jooste.

Perth Spirit

Starting 1-15: Pek Cowan, Heath Tessman, Jermaine Ainsley, Kieran Stringer, Onehunga Havili, Ross Haylett-Petty, Richard Hardwick, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior, Jonno Lance, Eric Vasukicakau, Ben Tapuai, Billy Meakes, Marcel Brache, Manihera Eden. 

Reserves: Anaru Rangi, Shambeckler Vui, Grayson Knapp, Michael Ruru, Ryan Louwrens, AJ Alatimu, Semisi Masirewa.

Ben Alexander is the second most capped Wallabies prop of all time. Photo: Getty ImagesCatch all the NRC action LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS.

Melbourne Rising (4) v Sydney Rays (2)

Sunday 9 October, 1:00pm (AEDT) at Frankston Oval 

Melbourne Rebels flanker Colby Fainga’a makes his first appearance in the 2016 Buildcorp NRC as the Rising look to cement their spot in the finals. Rising captain Nic Stirzaker makes his return after missing the last two weeks due to a head knock but will be partnered in the halves by former Wallaby, Lloyd Johansson after Jack Debreczeni was ruled out with a groin injury. 

The Rays have made a number of changes and obviously have one eye on the finals next weekend.  Skipper and scrumhalf Matt Lucas drops back to the bench for the first time this season, allowing Dewet Roos to start at number 9.  His halves parter is still to be decided by coach Simon Cron who has also named an all-new front row from last weekend.   The Rays can assure themselves a home semi-final with win over the Rising in Melbourne. 

Melbourne Rising

Starting 1-15: Cruze Ah-Nau, Pat Leafa, Tyrel Lomax, Sam Jeffries, Steve Cummins, Ikapote Tupai, Jordy Reid, Colby Fainga’a, Nic Stirzaker (c), Lloyd Johansson, Ah-mu Tuimalealiifano, Sione Tuipulotu, Tom English, Dom Shipperley, Jonah Placid.

Reserves: Siliva Siliva, Tom Moloney, Tim Metcher, Alex Toolis, Rob Valetini, Keisuke Yamada, Mick Snowden, Taiso Silafai-Leaana.

Sydney Rays

Starting 1-15: Ezra Luxton, James Hilterbrand, Angus Ta’avao, Connor Vest, James Brown, Jack Dempsey, Chris Alcock, Michael Wells, Dewet Roos, Sam Lane/Angus Sinclair, Harry Jones Irae Simone, Con Foley, Lochie Creagh, Josh Turner/Jonathan Malo.

Reserves: Damien Fitzpatrick, Rory O’Connor, Lawrance Hunting, Angus Ryan, Michael Smith/Harry Bergelin, Matt Lucas, Angus Sinclair/Sam Lane, Josh Turner/Jonathan Malo. 

Nic Stirzaker returns to hopefully lead the Rising into the Builcorp NRC finals. Photo: Getty ImagesStream online via

Brisbane City (8) v Queensland Country (7)

Sunday 9 October, 3:00pm (AEDT) at Ballymore

Brisbane City have made six changes for their final game of 2016.  Queensland Reds hooker, Andrew Ready returns to the starting side after missing last week, while flanker Adam Korczyk has been given his first start of the season.  In the backs, Alex Gibbon makes his comeback from a quad injury, forcing Toby White to move to outside centre and Liam Jurd back to the reserves.

Queensland Country are well and truly boosted by the return of superstar centre Izaia Perese in the battle for the Andy Purcell Cup.  The youngster has been touted as a future Wallaby but has missed the last two weeks through injury.  All Black legend Brad Thorn won’t play the final round of the season with Tyrell Barker set to line-up in his lock position.

Brisbane City

Starting 1-15: Pettowa Paraka, Andrew Ready, Sam Talakai (c), Luke Beauchamp, Lukhan Tui, Adam Korczyk, Michael Gunn, Isi Naisarani, Moses Sorovi, Jake McIntyre, Alex Gibbon, Toby White, Brad Lacey, Chris Kuridrani, Jayden Ngamanu.

Reserves: Matt Mafi, Markus Vanzati, Feao Fotuaika, David Findlay-Henaway, Criff Tupou, Angus Fowler, Junior Laloifi, Tuaina Tualima.

Queensland Country

Starting 1-15: Ben Daley, Alex Casey, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Tyrell Barker, Ted Postal, Maclean Jones, Angus Scott-Young, James Tuttle, Mack Mason, Liam McNamara, Duncan Paia’aua, Izaia Perese, Tyrone Lefau, Tom Banks.

Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Sef Fa’agase, Kiorwan Sanday, Patrick Morrey, Liam Wright, Isaac Fines-Leleiwasa, Mitch Third, Liam Jurd. 

Izaia Perese has been talked about as a bolter for the Wallabies Spring Tour. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyCatch all the NRC action LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS.