NRC semi-final hub: Highlights, full replays after Canberra, Force seal grand final spots

NRC
by Emma Greenwood

The form teams of the NRC season will fight out the grand final next weekend after the Canberra Vikings engineered an amazing second-half fightback to beat the Fijian Drua with a conversion after the siren to seal their place in the decider alongside the Western Force.

The Force beat Brisbane 42-38 in Perth on Saturday afternoon, hanging on to win a thriller after opening a 25-point lead midway through the second half.

Canberra had to do the reverse on Sunday, fighting back from a 22-0 halftime deficit against the defending NRC champions and scoring in the dying seconds before young gun Noah Lolesio stepped up to slot a conversion after the siren to seal a 28-27 victory.

 

The loss ended the Drua's gallant NRC title defence, a mission they almost pulled off after winning their final two fixtures at the death to push into the top four before taking the Vikings to the edge.

Canberra will now head to Perth, to take on the Force in Saturday's grand final, with both sides searching for a maiden NRC crown. 

CANBERRA VIKINGS vs FIJIAN DRUA

HIGHLIGHTS

 

A conversion after the fulltime siren from Junior Wallabies playmaker Noah Lolesio has capped a massive second-half fightback and sealed the Canberra Vikings a place in the NRC grand final against the Western Force.

The Vikings trailed the Fijian Drua 22-0 at halftime but a try after the 80th minute to Tom Banks left them behind the defending champions by just a point, with Lolesio's conversion on a slight angle handing Canberra a 28-27 win.

They will head to Perth next weekend to take on the Force in Saturday's grand final, with both teams looking for their first NRC title.

FULL REPLAY

 

RESULT

Canberra Vikings 28

Tries: Wright 2, Allen, Banks

Cons: Lonergan 3, Lolesio

Fijian Drua 27

Tries: Nabureitau, Vularika, Ikanivere, Navuma

Cons: Tikotani 2

Pens: Tikotani

WESTERN FORCE vs BRISBANE CITY

HIGHLIGHTS

 

The Western Force have hung on to book a place in their maiden NRC grand final after a courageous second-half showing helped them to a 42-28 win to snuff out Brisbane City's title hopes.

Up 42-17 in the final quarter, Force fans were likely to be making plans to head to the grand final next week before Brisbane came roaring back into the match with three tries in 11 minutes to ensure a thrilling finish.

A pivotal try just before the break allowed the Force to head into halftime on level terms with the visitors, who had dominated possession and field position in the opening 40 minutes without making the most of their chances.

And they were a different side in the second half, scoring four tries in the 20 minutes after the break to seemingly seal the result before Brisbane threatened to spoil the party. 

But desperate Force defence after the hooter ensured victory and a grand final spot.

FULL REPLAY

 

RESULT

Western Force 42

Tries: Placid, Deegan, Fines 2, Fou 2

Cons: Deegan 6

Yellow card: Thrush 22'

Brisbane City 38

Tries: Uru, Paenga-Amosa, Ngauamo 2, Henry

Cons: Hegarty 5

Pens: Hegarty