Eagles land in Fiji, Sydney head out west


By NSW Rugby Media

NSW Country face Fiji Drua in Suva on Saturday in a must-win NRC match. Following a heartbreaking last-minute loss to the Canberra Vikings in Armidale last weekend, the Eagles must now beat the Drua at the National Stadium in Fiji.

The team has been creating plenty of scoring chances in the last two games but have been guilty of not turning those opportunities into points.

Coach Darren Coleman summed up last week’s performance: “We have worked on improving our defence and that first half was very impressive. Our A Zone attack, composure and execution needed to be better to take more advantage of the field position and possession we had."

Will Miller will captain NSW Country in the absence of Paddy Ryan and the game presents the opportunity for some players to put their hand up for Super Rugby contracts with a strong performance in a challenging environment.

Coleman said: "It presents a great challenge for our group and there is nothing better than winning matches people don’t think you can. It’s one of the purest feelings in sport. To beat them is not rocket science, you’ve got to minimise the number of unstructured possessions you give them, from poor kicks and turnovers as they are punished by the Drua. I’m confident our set piece can get some pay and it’s up to us to be error-free off the back of that"

Saturday’s match kicks off at 1300 (AEST) and will be streamed live on FoxSports.

NSW Country
1. Harry Johnson-Holmes
2. Tolu Latu
3. Chris Talakai
4. Jed Holloway
5. Emmanuel Meafou
6. Nick Champion De Crespigny
7. Will Miller (captain)
8. Sam Figg
9. Mick Snowden
10. Mack Mason
11. Alex Gibbon
12. William McDonnell
13. Alex Newsome
14. Seb Wileman
15. Jaline Graham

16. Mahe Vailanu
17. Matt Gibbon
18. Robert Lagudi
19. Patrick Tafa
20. Alex Humfrey
21. Denny Godinet
22. Jack Grant
23. Afa Pakalani

Meanwhile, NSW Waratahs loose forward Jack Dempsey will captain Sydney in Sunday’s NRC match against the Western Force in the absence of injured skipper Damien Fitzpatrick.

The 24-year-old played 29 minutes against Brisbane City two weeks ago and 60 minutes against Fiji Drua at Concord Oval as he returns from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for 12 months.

Dempsey will start at No 8 in a changed line up. Connor Vest, Harry Burey and Ben Donaldson are all ruled out with Ryan McCauley starting at lock, Will Harrison getting the nod at flyhalf and Lachie Swinton returning to the side of the scrum.

Shambeckler Vui will start at tighthead prop in a return to the city where he spent a couple of seasons as part of the wider Super Rugby squad.

Another player to return is Guy Porter who comes back into the starting XV at outside centre after not playing since the Shute Shield grand final.

Sunday’s game kicks off at 1700 (AEST) and will be streamed live on FoxSports.


1. Matt Sandell (Sydney University)
2. JP Sauni (Northern Suburbs)
3. Shambeckler Vui (Southern Districts)
4. Ryan McCauley (Eastern Suburbs)
5. Nick Palmer (Northern Suburbs)
6. Lachie Swinton (Sydney University)
7. Maclean Jones (Warringah)
8. Jack Dempsey (Gordon, captain)
9. Mitch Short (Randwick)
10. Will Harrison (Randwick)
11. Curtis Rona (Parramatta)
12. Tyson Davis (Warringah)
13. Guy Porter (Sydney University)
14. Latu Latunipulu (Randwick)
15. Tim Clements (Sydney University)

16. David Vea (Randwick)
17. Kiernan Rabie (Randwick)
18. Dean Dombous (Eastwood)
19. TBA
20. Jack Hayson (Randwick)
21. Nick Duffy (Northern Suburbs)
22. Connor O’Shea (Randwick)
23. Enoka Muliufi (West Harbour)






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