Sydney and NSW Country are set to launch into the 2018 NRC competition this coming weekend after a blockbuster Shute Shield grand final last weekend that saw many NSW NRC players involved.

Now with a week of training behind the squads, Sydney and NSW Country are gearing up to take on the Canberra Vikings and Western Force respectively. Both teams will be looking to kick-start their campaigns with victories, so be sure not to miss any of the action.


Saturday 8 September

SYDNEY vs Canberra Vikings, Concord Oval, 1500 AEST 

Two Wallabies and a rookie winger with famous connections highlight the Sydney National Rugby Championship team announced to take on the Canberra Vikings on Saturday at Concord Oval. 


Wallabies lock Rob Simmons was released from the national team squad in Brisbane on Thursday and comes straight into the starting XV alongside three-Test Wallaby Curtis Rona who will play in the No. 13 jumper. Simmons, the 82 test veteran, will be keen for a solid shift against the Vikings after being dropped from the Wallabies match day 23 earlier this week. 


He will partner NSW Waratahs squad member Ryan McCauley in the second row in a side that has come together quickly this week in the wake of player commitments to the Shute Shield finals. Northern Suburbs lock Nick Palmer will come off the bench as cover for these two. The Sydney coaches decided to give John Folau, the 23-year-old younger brother of Wallabies No. 15 Israel Folau, a chance on the wing and he will be part of the run-on side.


Folau is testing the waters in rugby after a career in rugby league that involved NRL games with the Parramatta Eels and an international for the Tongan national team and seems to have fitted in nicely to the Sydney squad after only two sessions this week.


“Our idea is to give him as much opportunity as we can – that’s what this competition is all about,” head coach Chris Whitaker said.


“It’s always hard to pull a side together in such a short period of time but it’s a great opportunity for many of our guys that have been playing Shute Shield to play at a higher level alongside some Wallabies. 


“Canberra will be a very tough nut to crack but we will run out there and give it a crack.”


Interestingly another younger brother of a Wallaby playing against South Africa on Saturday night in Brisbane in Pat Sio has been named at No. 8. Scott will start at loos head prop for the Wallabies against the Springboks. Another bold selection is the naming of young Australian Under 20s back Will Harrison at flyhalf after only two games of first grade for Randwick in 2018. 


Harrison who played for the Australian Under 20s in France earlier this year, was part of the undefeated Randwick Colts team that won the grand final last Sunday at Concord. He has looked good at training this week and will be helped along immeasurably by the presence of the experienced Mitch Short at scrumhalf. 


The team will be led by Damien Fitzpatrick at hooker and includes five players who were involved in last Saturday’s Shute Shield grand final between Sydney University and Warringah at North Sydney Oval. They are prop Matt Sandell, flanker Lachie Swinton, fullback Tim Clements, and Warringah’s prop Rory O’Connor and reserve back Tyson Davis. 


The Sydney side has a hectic start to the NRC and will four home games in the first four weeks after sitting out round one because of the Shute Shield grand final.


Cost of entry at Concord Oval on Saturday is $10 (free entry for kids under the age of 16) with games on before the main games kicks off at 3pm



1.    Matt Sandell (Sydney University)

2.    Damien Fitzpatrick (Eastwood)

3.    Shambeckler Vui (Southern Districts)

4.    Rob Simmons (Randwick) 

5.    Ryan McCauley (Eastern Suburbs) 

6.    Lachie Swinton (Sydney Uni) 

7.    Jack Hayson (Randwick) 

8.    Pat Sio (Eastwood) 

9.    Mitch Short (Randwick)

10. Will Harrison (Randwick) 

11. John Folau 

12. Harry Burey (Northern Suburbs) 

13. Curtis Rona (Parramatta) 

14. Latu Latunipulu (Randwick) 

15. Tim Clements (Sydney University) 

16. JP Sauni (Northern Suburbs) 
17. Rory O’Connor (Warringah) 
18. Dean Doumbos (Eastwood) 
19. Nick Palmer (Northern Suburbs) 
20. Josh Kemeny (Sydney Uni) 
21. Nick Duffy (Northern Suburbs) 
22. Enoka Muliufi (West Harbour) 
23. Tyson Davis (Warringah) 

Sunday 9 September

NSW COUNTRY vs Perth Spirit, VWA Sports Park, 1500 AEST 

Darren Coleman has announced a strong NSW Country Eagles team to face Western Force in their first game for the 2018 NRC season in Perth this Sunday. 


There is a good mix of NSW Waratahs and others who performed strongly in during the Shute Shield this year. It is a great opportunity for young guys like Will McDonnell to play at the next level alongside the likes of Waratahs Will Miller and Jed Holloway. 


It will be a good challenge for the Eagles who have come together this week, playing the Western Force who have come off a strong preparation with their World Series matches and a solid first round NRC win against Brisbane City. 


1. Paddy Ryan (Sydney University)
2. Tom Horton (Sydney University
3. Harry Johnson-Holmes (Sydney University
4. Jed Holloway (Southern Districts) 
5. Tom Staniforth (Eastern Suburbs) 
6. Alex Humfrey (Manly)
7. Will Miller (Northern Suburbs) 
8. Sam Ward (Warringah) 
9. Jake Gordon (Sydney University) 
10. Mack Mason (Eastern Suburbs) 
11. Alex Gibbon (Brothers, QLD) 
12. William McDonnell (Sydney University) 

13. Apolosi Latunipulu (Southern Districts) 
14. Jaline Graham (Parramatta) 
15. Alex Newsome (Eastern Suburbs) 


16. Mahe Vailanu (Warringah) 
17. Matt Gibbon (Southern Districts) 
18. Robert Lagudi (Eastwood) 
19. Emmanuel Meafou (Warringah) 
20. Patrick Tafa (Northern Suburbs) 
21. Mick Snowden (Eastwood) 
22. Rohan Saifoloi (Southern Districts) 
23. Harry Potter (Sydney University)

Broadcast details

Saturday 8 September: Sydney v Canberra Vikings, 1500 AEST, live on FOX 503

Sunday 9 September: Western Force v NSW Country, 1500 AEST, live streamed on Fox Sports









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