NRC 2017 final: Key matchups

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

 The NRC decider is finally here...almost.

Canberra hosts Queensland Country on Saturday November 11, kicking off at 7:30pm AEDT in what looms as a potential classic.

Who will prove most influential at Viking Park? 

Faalelei Sione vs Taniela Tupou 

Taniela Tupou looms as a potential game breaker for Queensland Country in the final, after splitting open the Drua in Toowoomba last weekend. Under Brad Thorn’s tutelage, Tupou is finally starting to live up to the hype that made him an internet sensation as an Auckland schoolboy. He’ll be joining the Wallabies in London next week, but there’s still time for one more influential outing. The Vikings’ front row has been impressive all year, with Sione a plank in that, and he will be tested going head-to-head with Tupou.

Filipo Daugunu vs Andrew Muirhead

Daugunu has been an absolute revelation for Queensland Country this season, leading the NRC with 10 tries so far. A four-try effort during the year made him the fourth player with such a haul and he’s basically played his way into a Super Rugby contract in just 10 games. He’s also a defensive threat, sitting third in the competition for turnovers won. Muirhead is a clever attacker and can certainly finish when given the opportunity. 

James Dargaville vs Duncan Paiaaua

The Wallabies have a growing list of 12 options and Paia’aua and Dargaville have led the pack during the NRC season when it comes to the next tier down. Both will be hugely influential in their side’s attack in Canberra on Saturday night. 

Rob Valetini vs Angus Scott-Young

Rob Valetini has shot into the spotlight in the 2017 NRC. Photot: WalmsleyValetini has set the NRC alight this year, stunning opponents in the backrow. He signed a full-time contract with the Brumbies as a schoolboy and this NRC season has really shown why they were so keen to lock him in. Scott-Young is another promising young prospect and will shoulder more of the backrow responsibility with Liam Wright in Europe with the Wallabies. This should be an enthralling battle.

Canberra hosts Queensland Country in the NRC final on Saturday November 11, kicking off at 7:30pm AEDT, LIVE on beIn Sports and SBS.