NRC Eagles claim line honours in Bathurst - Green and Gold Rugby
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NRC Eagles claim line honours in Bathurst

NRC Eagles claim line honours in Bathurst

A brilliant Bathurst and Ann Ashwood Park, hosted the NSW Country Eagles in a home match against the North Harbour Rays this Saturday afternoon. In hot conditions the players put their personal welfare on the line for the sake of the fans watching to produce a highly entertaining match with the Eagles ultimately winning 50 to 24.

First Half:

The Eagles gained the ascendancy early on in the first half through the hard work of their aggressive forward pack. The game plan was simple – get metres through strong runs via the likes of Tom Staniforth, Beau Robinson, Mark Baldwin and Dashville Kuate before unleashing their free running backs including Jono Lance, Ed Stubbs, Jarome McKenzie and Charlie Clifton.

Sam Figg scored two tries in the first half (the team’s first and third) on the back of two dominate  scrums. In between Dave Horwitz run strongly through the defence for a try following some earlier big runs from his pack.

There was plenty of end to end play by both teams as the Rays looked for any opportunity to score, whilst the Eagles were desperate to prevent them from cross their line. Some of their scrambling defence was unbelievable to witness and evidence of the importance of the match to them.

A few scuffles amongst the players broke out on the cusp of half time before both teams went to the shade for refreshment.

Second Half:

The Eagles started a lot looser in the 2nd half and it resulted in an sensational first try of the second half to Ed Stubbs following a Jerome McKenzie break some class from Andrew Kellaway (and a through the legs pass) before the big centres scored a try.

As it has been often this season it was Josh Holmes who finally did what was needed for the Rays with a clever run and a couple of show and goes to dash over for a try in the 50th minute.

However the Eagles regained control soon after as Andrew Kellaway ran away for a try after a turn over produced space for Sam Lousi who off loaded to a barnstorming David Feao who set up Kellaway beautifully to race away for the try.

The Rays hit back though in the 60th minute as Harry Bergelin scored a try almost immediately after some quick play and interchange across the pitch before the Rays blindside barged over from close to the line. The were able to back it up again soon after through a rolling maul try to the other Holmes, captain Luke, and the score was 34-24 with about 11 minutes to go on the clock. 

Perhaps it was the pace of play in the first half and the heat of the day, by the Eagles were noticeably tiring and needed to lift to regain momentum.  Two tries in the last five minutes of the game to reserve Pauli Tuala charging over under the posts and then impressive scrumhalf Mitch Short chasing through a kick to touch down, gave the Eagles the much needed bonus point win and keeping them in finals contention at least until tomorrow’s match up between the Rising and Stars. 

If the Stars win tomorrow then the Eagles are in the finals. If the Rising win, then the Eagles need to hope there’s no bonus point so that they will play again next week.

Game changer

To the Rays credit the match wasn’t over at half time despite a 24-0 scoreline. They fought hard in the second half at late in the game at 34-24 were still in with a shot. The introduction of Will Miller, Pauli Tuala and big Sam Lousi though seemed to spark the Eagles though and the back to back tries in the last five secured the win.

The GAGR MOTM

Tom Staniforth was big in the first half and Beau Robinson was tireless however captain Jono Lance is the MOM for his big game plays. Whether it was a pinpoint clearing kick, a massive hit in defence, a strong run or a pinpoint pass, Lance produced when it was needed as he has all NRC.

OZ Baabaa watch

Boyd Killingworth was again excellent for the Rays, despite a yellow card for a dangerous tackle as was his backrow buddy Harry Bergelin. Likewise Sam Figg was very strong for the Eagles together with Dashville Kuate upfront.  Jarome McKenzie remains one of the wingers of the tournament with some razzle dazzle outwide.

NSW Country: 50


Tries: 7
S. Figg (2) 7', 31'
D. Horowitz 15'
E. Stubbs 46'
A. Kellaway 57'
M. Short 75'
P. Tuala 80'

Conv: 5
J. Lance (5/7) 8', 16', 32', 76', 80'

Cards:
n/a

NH Rays: 24


Tries: 3
J. Holmes (2) 51', 68
H. Bergelin 60'

Conv: 3
H. Angus (3/3) 52' 61' 69'

Cards:
Killingworth 21' – YC
Referee: Nic Berry

Attendance: 1,200 (approx.)

NSW Country Eagles: 1. Dave Faeo, 2. Tom Sexton, 3. Dashville Kuate, 4. Nick Palmer, 5. Tom Staniforth, 6. Beau Robinson, 7. Mark Baldwin, 8. Sam Figg; 9. Mitch Short, 10. Jono Lance, 11. Charlie Clifton, 12. Dave Horwitz, 13. Ed Stubbs, 14. Jarome McKenzie, 15. Andrew Kellaway. Reserves: 16. Peter Nau, 17. Dane Maraki, 18. Jerome Vaai, 19. Sam Lousi, 20. Will Miller, 21. Pauli Tuala, 22. Will Fay, 23. Jack Pennington. Coach: Darren Coleman.

North Harbour Rays: 1. Mitch Lewis, 2. Luke Holmes (C), 3. Lawrance Hunting, 4. Ruairidh Wilson, 5. Ryan Melrose, 6. Harry Bergelin, 7. Boyd Killingworth, 8. Harry Rorke; 9. Josh Holmes, 10. Sam Lane, 11. John Porch, 12. Reece Hodge, 13. Michael Adams, 14. Tom Hill, 15. Hamish Angus. Reserves: 16. James Wilkinson, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18. Alex Holmes, 19. Cameron Treloar, 20. Mitch Daniel, 21. Hugh Sinclair, 22. Tim Donlan, 23. Sione Ala. Coach: Geoff Townsend.

  • Kiap

    Very solid win by the Eagles but just pipped at the post for the semis. They’re probably ruing a few missed opportunities earlier in the season, but that’s rugby.

    Sam Louisi was impressive in his cameo from the bench. Should be handy for the Tahs next year. Good write-up, cheers.

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