NRC: Jackson-Hope post-siren try scores victory for Vikings

by Rebecca Szabo

Jordan Jackson-Hope scored a try after the siren to secure the Vikings a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the NSW Country Eagles in Armidale. 

The Vikings were trailing 17-14 with the game almost over when Wharenui Hawera kicked a penalty goal in the 79th minute, and from the re-start, the Vikings pushed downfield and scored a game-winning try to Jackson-Hope.

The 24-17 win came at a cost, however, with promising no.8 Rob Valetini again leaving the field with a knee injury.

The giant Wallabies aspirant played just three Super Rugby games this year after suffering a series of medial ligament injuries and had this week been touted as a Spring Tour bolder.

Perfect sunny conditions at Bellevue Oval in Armidale set the scene for a great afternoon of country rugby. The Country Eagles were coming off the back of their first win of the season but were missing some key members of their forward pack and halfback Jake Gordon due to Wallabies selection for the South Africa and Argentina Tests. 

The NSW Country Eagles didn’t seem troubled early, however, and they dominated possession and attack during the first half, forcing many errors for the Vikings.

Will Miller was a stand out around the ruck for the Eagles and created turnover after turnover at the breakdown. 

With only 10 minutes played in the half, the Eagles found themselves with a 5 metre scrum and, Country’s dominant scrum - led by captain Paddy Ryan - began create havoc.

Consecutive penalties and a yellow card to Viking Sione Taula saw the Eagles eventually awarded a penalty try, and an early 7-point lead. 

Errors from both sides created a stop-start game, however, and after 35 minutes of play it was lowest scoring first half of the 2018 season. 

The Eagles doubled their lead off a wide pass from Mack Mason found fullback Alex Newson, who charged down the sideline and scored in the corner. 

The Vikings were in the oppositions 22 for under a minute in the first half but came out with more attacking intent in the second.

Rob Valetini grabbed the Vikings' first try of the day in the 52nd minute, barging through five Eagles players to score under the posts.

The Vikings jagged another try soon after when Lausii Taliauli showed incredible pace to score in the right side corner, and Hawera in good touch with the boot, the scores drew level at 14-14.

The Eagles reclaimed the lead moments later with a Mack Mason penalty kick, and though only holding a narrow lead, the hosts appeared to be in control and heading to victory.

But the Vikings hung in, and  a penalty to the Eagles for not rolling away let Hawera kick to tie the score at 17-17 in the 79th minute.

More ill-discipline from the Eagles let the Vikings get back into the Eagles half following the re-start, and after sustained attack and thoughts of a drop-goal to level up the scores, Jackson-Hope broke through the line to score a try in the 82nd minute.


NSW Country Eagles 17

Tries: Newsome, Penalty try

Cons: Mason

Pens: Mason

Canberra Vikings 24

Tries: Valetini, Taliauli, Jackson-Hope

Cos: Hawera 3

Pens: Hawera