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NRC wrap: Melbourne put 50 on Rays

25th August 2014 16:52

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Christian Lealiifano Canberra Vikings v Perth Spirit NRC 2014

Poor goal-kicking: Christian Lealiifano

Australia's National Rugby Championship kicked off with a bang as there were several high scoring matches in the opening round.

Most of the weekend's fixtures saw the winners notching comprehensive margins, although the clash between Perth Spirit and Canberra Vikings was a hard-fought battle with eventually winning by a narrow margin.

Melbourne Rising were the most impressive side as they crossed the 50-point mark against North Harbour Rays. Queensland Country had a bye during the opening round.

Results:

Brisbane City 45-20 Sydney Stars
Perth Spirit 28-23 Canberra Vikings
Melbourne Rising 55-34 North Harbour Rays
New South Wales Country Eagles 31-2 Sydney Rams


Brisbane City got their campaign off to a superb start, scoring six tries in their 45-20 victory over Sydney Stars at Ballymore in Brisbane.

But despite that winning margin, the home side had to come from behind to claim the win as the Stars raced into a 20-8 lead inside the opening 30 minutes.

The Stars scored their first try in the fourth minute when Henry Clunies-Ross got over in the left hand corner but Brisbane struck back via five-pointer from Toby White shortly afterwards.

The visitors then stepped up a gear and scored further tries through Sam Quinn, James Dargaville and Jim Stewart but it was one-way traffic for the rest of the match as Brisbane took control.

Chris Kuridrani scored his first of two tries before the break which meant Stars held a 20-16 leat at half-time.

City took control in the second half and there were further tries from Kuridrani, White, Harry Parker and Jake McIntyre, who also kicked five conversions.

The scorers:

For Brisbane City:
Tries: T White 2, C Kuridrani 2, H Parker, J McIntyre
Cons: McIntyre 5

For Sydney Stars:
Tries: H Clunies-Ross S Quinn J Stewart J Dargaville


Perth secured a 28-23 win over the Canberra Vikings but had to work hard before claiming victory at Canberra's Viking Park.

The Spirit raced into a 13-0 lead at half-time, thanks to early tries from Zac Holmes and Dillyn Leyds, but the Vikings fought back in the second half and were soon trailing by three points after Isaac Thompson and Robbie Coleman crossed over for unconverted tries.

The hosts soon took the lead after a Nigel Ah Wong try but Wallaby inside back Christian Lealiifano's poor goal-kicking continued as he missed another conversion.

Coleman crossed over for another five-pointer which Lealiifano converted but that was to be last time the Vikings added points to their tally.

Heath Tessmann crossed over for a converted a try, after Vikings lock Tom Staniforth was yellow-carded, and Ammon Matuauto also crossed the whitewash before Luke Burton added a late penalty to seal victory for the visitors.

The scorers:

For Canberra Vikings:
Tries: R Coleman 2, I Thompson, N Ah Wong
Con: C Lealiifano

For Perth Spirit:
Tries: Z Holmes, D Leyds, H Tessmann, A Matuauto
Cons: Holmes, K Burton
Pen: Burton


Melbourne Rising registered the biggest win of the opening round after beating North Harbour 55-34 in Melbourne.

The game was not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests as the hosts only took control of proceedings during the game's latter stages.

The rising dominated the early exchanges and Nic Stirzaker got in for their first try, after spotting a gap at a ruck and Sefanaia Naivalu also got his name onto the scoreboard with a five-pointer after Tom English did well in the build-up.

North Harbour struck back with a try from Ed Gower but the Rising got another five-pointer from Jack Debreczeni.

The visitors didn't panic, however, and soon ran in two tries in quick succession via full-back David Feltscheer and scrum-half Matt Lucas which levelled the score at 21-21.

The Rays then got their fourth try with prop Mitch Lewis crossing over which meant the visitors led 26-21 at the interval.

The second half saw more enterprising play from both sides but the home side took charge as the half progressed scoring further tries via Telusa Veainu, Naivalu, Reuben Rolleston and Debreczeni.

For the Rays, Dave Porecki also scored a try but it wasn't enough as the hosts' strong finish secured them the win.

The scorers:

For Melbourne Rising:
Tries: T Veainu 2, S Naivalu 2, J Debreczeni 2, N Stirzaker, R Rolleston
Con: Debreczeni 5

For North Harbour Rays:
Tries: E Gower, D Feltscheer, M Lucas, M Lewis, D Porecki
Cons: H Angus 3


New South Wales Country Eagles had too much ammunition for neighbours Sydney Rams, claiming a commanding 31-2 victory.

The match kicked off in atrocious weather conditions and the opening exchanges was highlighted by several handling errors on wet under-foot conditions.

Ben Volavola opened the scoring for the Rams with a penalty after 17 minutes. This would be Rams' only points of the match and shortly afterwards Sam Windsor drew the Eagles level with a successful place-kick of his own.

Both sides battled to retain possession in the wet conditions and the teams went into the break with the score level at 2-2.

The rain cleared after half-time which saw better play and the Eagles soon took control of proceedings.

Matt Carraro soon scored the game's opening try which Windsor converted and there were three further five-pointers from Andrew Kellaway, Will Miller and Apakuki Ma'afu which sealed the Eagles' victory.

The scorers:

For NSW Country Eagles:
Tries: M Carraro, A Kellaway, W Miller and A Ma'afu
Cons: S Windsor 3
Pen: Windsor

For Sydney Rams:
Pen: B Volavola

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