With the first two rounds of the NRC done and dusted, the brand new competition is starting to take some shape as the Perth Spirit and Greater Sydney Rams come to South Australia this weekend.
After a couple of wildly entertaining matches, two of the competitions highly touted teams will venture to Adelaide to play their round three fixtures.
The Perth Spirit will do battle with the Greater Sydney Rams at Adelaide Airport Oval as part of South Australian Rugby’s epic round one of finals action.
Although we only have two rounds of action to look at, the signs indicate that we will have quite a game to enjoy.
Perth Spirit has had a good start to the competition. With one gritty win and a narrow loss to their name, they’re currently looking like the favourites for this clash.
In the opening round the team was able to overcome a highly rated ACT Vikings team featuring e11 contracted Brumbies players. As impressive as this was, it gets even better when you consider that the Spirit were down to 13 men for a period in the second half.
Nevertheless, Perth was able to grind out a 28-23 victory to kick off their season.
Unfortunately they were unable to back this up last week, falling to a very surprising Brisbane City side. Despite having home ground advantage, Perth was outdone by a defiant Brisbane.
Wallabies Head Coach Ewan Mckenzie was in attendance to keep an eye on proceedings, as Wallabies Pek Cowan, Kyle Godwin, Matt Hodgson and James Horwill were among those to take the field.
In the end Perth were outdone by an impressive Brisbane defensive line. Handling errors were the key stat, as Brisbane capitalised on numerous Perth mistakes.
For all you SA rugby fans heading to the game, make sure you keep an eye out for the Spirit’s leading try scorer Dillyn Leyds at fullback, the barnstorming Robbie Abel at hooker and Australian U20 Brad Lacey on the wing for his NRC debut. The all Cottesloe front-row will definitely be tough to match this week.
GREATER SYDNEY RAMS
Meanwhile, based on the other side of the country, the Greater Sydney Rams have not quite had the start to the competition they hoped for.
In wet round one conditions, the Rams were put to the sword by state rivals NSW Country Eagles. Despite a strong opening to the game, the Rams were unable to grab the ascendancy from a skilled Eagles outfit.
As conditions dried out for the second half, the Rams were unable to match the Eagles forwards. Despite patches of backline brilliance, the Rams were done by a final score of 31-2.
Round 2 saw the Rams take on a Vikings team smarting from a loss to Perth. The Rams had another good start to the game, dominating the play with great energy at the breakdown. Again the Rams backs were strong, but this time they were being supported by solid forward play.
Unfortunately it couldn’t be sustained, as the Vikings worked their way back into the match. Despite a brilliant intercept try from Ram’s Captain Jed Holloway (one to watch this week), the Rams were again defeated by a final score 37-18.
SA rugby fans, make sure you keep an eye out for ex-wallaby Benn Robinson who looks to be starting at prop and Hugh Perrett on the flank. Taqele Naiyaravaro and Ben Volavola will headline a strong backline, supported up by a contingent of seasoned Shute Shield players led by Mark Swanepoel at flyhalf.
So with an excellent game looking to take place, make sure SA rugby shows its support for the growth of the game in our state. This is a great opportunity to see some high class rugby action, and to make sure that we continue to get high profile matches and teams coming to our city.
Who: Perth Spirit vs Greater Sydney Rams
When: 2.00pm, Saturday 6th September
Where: Adelaide Airport Stadium