PREVIEW: National Rugby Championship, Round Two

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 08:25
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The National Rugby Championship (NRC) has delivered enthralling, exciting and telling matches in Round One.  

However, Round Two promises to deliver more exciting rugby, with a boost of twelve Wallabies players.

The players are Nick Frisby (Brisbane City), Tom Robertson (Country Eagles), James Slipper and Rob Simmons (Bond University Country), Will Skelton (Western Sydney Rams), James Hanson, Lopeti Timani and Toby Smith (Melbourne Rising), Luke Morahan (Perth Spirit), Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold and Henry Speight (Vikings).

We take a look at all the Round Two action!

Friday, September 2:

Sydney Rays v Perth Spirit
(North Sydney Oval, Sydney - Kick-off 18.30 AEST)

After an emphatic seven-try victory at North Sydney in Round One, the Rays are boosted by Sevens star Cam Clark - will be aiming for more home ground success when they play under the lights at North Sydney.

Playing in pale blue socks for the prostate cancer awareness campaign, it will be particularly special for Rays hooker Damien Fitzpatrick whose father has recently battled prostate cancer.

Travelling for the first time, the Spirit have named a strong squad featuring viral try-scoring sensation and NRC debutant Shambeckler Vui and speedster N.8 Onehunga Havili.

Saturday, September 3:

Brisbane City v Western Sydney Rams
(Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane - Kick-off 15.00 AEST)

After their first defeat in 13 matches last week, Brisbane City welcome back Wallabies squad member Nick Frisby and Jake McIntyre for this Horan-Little Shield challenge match.

The Rams had the most carries, line-out takes and offloads of all teams in Round One. They will be looking to register their first win with the help of Wallaby star, Will Skelton.

Sunday, September 4:

Melbourne Rising v Queensland Country
(Harlequin Oval, Melbourne - Kick-off 13.00 AEST)

Both teams will welcome back Wallabies players as they look to record their first win of the season.

James Slipper's inclusion will boost the Queensland Country's team, which has six changes from last week.

Meanwhile, Toby Smith, James Hanson and Lopeti Timani have been included in the Melbourne Rising's run-on team for the first time this season.

Vikings v Country Eagles
(Viking Park, Canberra - Kick-off 15.00 AEST)

After asserting their 2016 intentions early with an impressive Round One victory over reigning champions Brisbane City, Eagles will face a tough game away at Viking Park, Canberra.

For the Vikings, recent Wallaby debutant Allan Alaalatoa has been named at tighthead prop, lining up alongside Wallabies Sam Carter, Josh Mann-Rea and Henry Speight, with Rory Arnold on the bench.

2016 NRC standings after Round One:

Vikings 5 points
Sydney Rays 5 points
Country Eagles 4 points
Perth Spirit 4 points
Melbourne Rising 1 point
Brisbane City 0 points
Western Sydney Rams 0 points
Queensland Country 0 points