Eagles snapping at Rays heels

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 16:26
Large country v sydney rays 800

NRC ROUND THREE WRAP: The third round of the National Rugby Championship has delivered plenty to excite spectators, including a 2015 grand final rematch and a thrilling match in a country rugby heartland.

Will Skelton, Luke Morahan and Fijian Olympic hero Vatemo Ravouvou headlined the Sydney Rams v Perth Spirit match at Concord but it was Rams hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa who again starred, scoring his fourth try in three games. Composed defence from the Spirit allowed them to hang on to a 30-24 victory, withstanding the home side's desperate second-half revival.

The Sydney Rays are within reach of securing a maiden National Rugby Championship semifinal appearance after they held on to their top-of-the-table berth with a gutsy 30-22 win over Queensland Country on the rainy Gold Coast. Despite showing promise, Queensland Country remain winless.

In the 2015 grand final rematch, the University of Canberra Vikings recovered from their thumping last weekend to stun last year's champions Brisbane City 52-20 and claim the Horan-Little Shield at Ballymore. Thirty unanswered points from the Vikings in the second half including three tries in the last 13 minutes secured the Canberra outfit a valuable bonus point.

The in-form Country Eagles had their first regional game in captain Paddy Ryan's home town of Tamworth, with a spirited crowd cheering on the boys from the bush against Melbourne Rising. The Country Eagles led from the start but a terrific second-half comeback from the Rising saw them fight back in the dying minutes only to fall just short, with the Eagles' defence proving the difference in their thrilling 32-30 victory.

Round Three scores and scorers:

Saturday, September 10

Western Sydney Rams 24-30 Perth Spirit

Scorers:

Western Rams:
Tries: Toleafoa, Paenga-Amosa, Payne
Cons: Asquith 2
Pen: Walton

Perth Spirit:
Tries: Lance, Matuauto, Vasukicakau, Louwrens
Cons: Lance 3

Queensland Country 22-30 Sydney Rays

Scorers:

Queensland Country:
Tries: Perese, Third, Banks
Cons: Third 2

Sydney Rays:
Tries: Woolf 2, Palmer, Brown
Cons: Lucas 3

Sunday, September 11

Brisbane City 20-52 UC Vikings

UC Vikings:
Tries: Abel 2, Noa, Robinson, Butler,Carter, Speight
Cons: Thompson 3, Jooste, Speight

Brisbane City:
Tries: Naisarani, Frisby, Kuridrani
Cons: McIntyre

Country Eagles 32-30 Melbourne Rising

Country Eagles:
Tries: Latu, Figg, Hanigan, Gordon
Cons: Deegan 4

Melbourne Rising:
Tries: Meehan, Snowden, Silafai-Leaana
Cons: Debreczeni 3

Standings (under heading played, won and points):
Sydney Rays 3 3 14
Country Eagles 3 3 13
UC Vikings 3 2 10
Perth Spirit 3 2 8
Melbourne Rising 3 1 6
Brisbane City 3 1 4
Sydney Rams 3 0 2
Queensland Country 3 0 1

Round Four Fixtures:

Saturday, September 17:
Country Eagles v Sydney Rays, Pittwater Park, 13.00 AEST
Melbourne Rising v Brisbane City, Harlequins Oval, 15.00 AEST

Sunday, September 18:
UC Vikings v Sydney Rams, Viking Park, 13.00
Queensland Country v Perth Spirit, UWA Sports Park, 15.00 AEST