NRC 2016 Qld Country v Canberra Vikings - Green and Gold Rugby
National Rugby Championship

NRC 2016 Qld Country v Canberra Vikings

NRC 2016 Qld Country v Canberra Vikings

Queensland Country must start this year with a new air of confidence. An improved roster and new coaches including Wallaby legend Toutai Kefu and all round legend Brad Thorn. The guys from the capital won’t be push overs. Lets face it they never are. Both teams have had a very short lead into this match with only a few training sessions together. The team who can gel first will probably win the game. (DUH)

The Match

The game started with a bang for Country with Taniela Tupou playing pinball with opposition players but after the first couple of minutes the Vikings began to dominate. They scored four first half tries to none with their backs doing most of the damage. James Dargaville scored two tries but injured his shoulder doting down the second and had to leave the field. Rory Arnold and Jarad Butler scored the other two.


Rory Arnold was a formidable line-out option

Canberra dominated the ruck and maul and won the scrum battle. Fast ball at the tackle and slick hands and powerful running through the midfield in the backs made it seem like they could make ground at will. Qld Country frittered away their possession with poor handling, ill conceived kicks and runs into touch and while looking the best I’d seen them play still looked off the pace. By Half time the Vikings were up 28-0 and the game looked gone for Qld Country.


James Dargaville scores for the UC Vikings.

The second half looked like a rinse and repeat for the Vikings. Rory Arnold scored his second just after the break making Country’s mountain even higher.

Izaia Perese scored a beautiful long range try to get Country off the duck. The replacement centre’s energy really made a difference and Qld Country seemed to rally despite another Vikings try to Henry Speight. Country’s fullback, Tom banks, scored two late tries to bring the score up to 44-20 with less than 10 minutes to go but the Vikings ran in two late tries of their own to shut out the match. the final score of 58-20 was a pretty fair representation of the game.


Tom Banks scored two late tries for Queensland Country


The Game Changer

The Vikings looked like a pretty slick well drilled unit and they pretty much controlled the game from the first minutes.


The official man of the match was Lausii Taliauli with Rory Arnold and James Dargaville filling in the minor spots. Since we pick the NRC 3-2-1’s we’d better go with them then. Lausii Taliauli is the GAGR MOTM

Players to watch

Rory Arnold coming back from injury looked the goods. Rob Simmons was parachuted into the side at the last moment and it showed. Tom Banks looks like a player of the future and I expect to see him play more Super rugby. Nic Jooste played a beautifully understated hand for the Vikings and kicked very well.

The Details

Qld Country: 20

Tries: 3
Banks (2) 72', 74'
Perese 61'

Conv: 1
Mason (1/3) 75'


UC Vikings: 58

Tries: 8
Dargaville (2) 6', 27'
Arnold (2) 19', 50'
Speight (2) 68', 80'
Abel 30'
Jackson-Hope 76'

Conv: 5
Jooste (5/8) 6', 28', 51', 68', 77'

Referee: Nic Berry

Attendance: tbc

Queensland Country: 1. Sef Fa’agase, 2. Feleti Kaitu’u, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Izack Rodda, 6. Tyrell Barker 7. Conor Mitchell, 8. Apisai Naiyabo; 9. James Tuttle, 10. Mack Mason, 11. Eto Nabuli, 12. Duncan Paia’aua, 13. Tyrone Lefau 14. Tom Pincus, 15. Tom Banks. Reserves: 16. Alex Casey, 17. Ben Daley, 18. Kirwan Sanday, 19. Phil Potgieter, 20. Lolo Fakaosilea, 21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22. Mitch Third, 23. Izaia Perese. Coach: Toutai Kefu.

University of Canberra Vikings: 1. Sione Taula, 2. Robbie Abel, 3. Les Makin, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Blake Enever, 6. Tom Staniforth, 7. Jarrad Butler (c), 8. Jordan Smiler; 9. Joe Powell, 10. Nick Jooste, 11. Lausii Taliauli, 12. Jordan Jackson-Hope, 13. Andrew Smith, 14. James Dargaville, 15. Robbie Coleman. Reserves: 16. Connal McInerney, 17. Faalelei Sione, 18. Nick Dobson, 19. OJ Noa, 20. Dean Oakman-Hunt, 21. Brent Hamlin, 22. Isaac Thompson, 23. Henry Speight. Coach: Wayne Southwell.


Jordan Jackson-Hope gets a pass away for Henry Speight to score


Rory Arnold scored two tries


Izaia Perese gave Queensland Country fans one of their few reasons to cheer.


  • Pedro

    What an epic weekend of nrc action. Thanks for the write up sully, superb photos by hj.

    Vikings look scarily good, how good is it to see Speight and Arnold playing again?

    • Arh… yeah…. great.

      • Pedro

        For the wallabies…. for the wallabies…

  • Bobas

    Great write up Sully,
    Banks, Staniforth, JJ Hope and Arnie looked amazing lets hope they keep developing!

  • Seb V

    How was Speight?

    • Pedro

      Looked unusually strong as usual.

  • RobC

    Thanks Sully. How as Lolo?

    • Simon

      Looks much bulkier than I remember. As I said in my comment, looks more like an 8 than a 6 now IMO. Didn’t immediately pay off as he got absolutely dropped in his tracks by the Vikings hooker at one stage but he had a couple of good carries and looked pretty good.

      • RobC

        thanks Simon. For some reason my RugbyPass subscription says they cover NRC. But none delivered. Missing out!

        Lolo will be a Viking next year I guess

        • Simon

          Yeah I heard that Fox Sports was streaming the NRC games on its website so I tried to watch the 1pm game there, but apparently you need a News Corp paid account to watch it. So even though I have Foxtel at extortionate pricing they want me to pay more to watch the other games. Pricks!

  • Simon

    Drove down to the Goldie for it. Few things I noticed:
    – Vikings clearly dominant, once Country lost Paia’aua and Tupou they really struggled. Vikings currently my tip for the title after that showing.
    – After Tupou went off, Daley came on at loosehead and Sef swapped to tighthead. NRC must not have the Super law that a prop needs to be named at either LH or TH and can’t swap?
    – Nabuli is really powerful at this level, I reckon he’ll have a good season
    – Plenty of tackling the man in the air and the ref did nothing. Would have been pushing a YC in Super but not even a penalty
    – Fakaosilea seems to have bulked up significantly from last year. More an 8 physique now rather than a 6.
    – Perese looks like a player to watch, he has some serious pace – I expect to see him in the Reds pretty soon, assuming we’re smart enough to hang onto him.

    • RugbyReg

      “Super law that a prop needs to be named at either LH or TH and can’t swap?” is that really a thing? I think they just need to be able to cover all positions in the front row on the bench.

      • Simon

        Well, I’m wracking my memory here, but I remember a Super game either this season or last season (at least I think it was Super, not international) where one team lost both its TH props to injury. They had a LH on the bench who could play TH, and in fact was usually a TH, but because he was listed as reserve LH on the team sheet, he was not allowed to fill in at LH and scrums went uncontested, to the disgust of the other team who had scrum dominance.

        Unfortunately I don’t remember any more about it so my chance of googling it down is unlikely. If anyone remembers more about it I would be interested to know.

        • brumby runner

          Waratahs v Reds had something along those lines in it. Reds on attack late in the game when it went to uncontested scrums. Was some brain fart moment on the Reds’ part as I remember for calling for a scrum after they were uncontested.

          Robinson and Taevao I think were both injured. There was some suggestion that Robinson’s injury was a bit fortuitous and that he should have come back on, but he did miss the next, maybe couple, of games with concussion I think. I think Paddy ryan might have been on the bench, having been replaced, but wasn’t listed for the position and couldn’t be used. But late in the season he made the swap to LHP anyway. At least, that’s something like I remember.

        • Simon

          Yeah I remember that too. I think the key (as I outlined in my second reply to Reg) is that if the team with the injured props doesn’t want to substitute their TH-capable reserve LH, they can’t be forced to. They can claim the player can’t play TH, even if they start that position every other game of their career.

          But there is no actual law that says a prop can’t swap sides if his team wants him to and he’s “capable” – which is an objective call anyway.

      • Simon

        Okay, I think I have worked it out. In the laws, it’s up to the teams, not the ref, to determine whether a prop can swap sides, but there appears to have been confusion among both refs and commentators on this point.

        Chiefs this year used the rule cynically to avoid contested scrums when they were getting pantsed by the Hurricanes. Their reserve loosehead could play tighthead but they claimed he couldn’t to make scrums go uncontested, even though this meant they finished the game with 14 players.

        Last year, Boks vs ABs, the Boks had the dominant scrum and had two THs injured. Nyakane was reserve LH and he had started at TH for the Sharks all season. Referee Garces called uncontested scrums, to the outrage of Bok fans, because he was apparently informed that Nyakane could not play TH. This was an error, although the error apparently came from someone in the Boks.

        So it seems according to the letter of the law, as long as Country said Sef could cover TH, he could shift there to cover Tupou.

        Article about the Boks incident:

  • brumby runner

    Good summary Sully – thanks. Joe Powell was my MOTM and showed a lot more ball running ability than he has to date with the Brumbies. Maybe just a matter of more confidence?

    Staniforth was best forward on the ground – constantly making ground ball in hand, hitting hard in defence, making turnovers and finished on top of Simmons in the lineout contest. Wasn’t sure of him at 6, but had a huge impact on the game.

    Jooste simply outplayed Mason in all aspects.

    Rory Arnold should now be recalled to the Wallabies. Henry Speight showed that he is still very hard to contain and scored a couple of confidence-building tries; the second through sheer strength in contact.

    JJH is electric in attack, but had some bad misses in defence. Needs to tighten up his tackling.

    Tom Banks was very impressive for the Qld Country side.

    • Seb V

      Good to hear Powell doing some ball-running didn’t think he had it in his game.

    • Warwick Todd

      Great to hear Arnold went well. The Wallabies are defecient almost everywhere but especially so at lock.

      Was Tupou injured? How did he scrum? Where do you see Staniforth playing at Super level, 6, 8 or lock?

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Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to

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