Watch National Rugby Championship NRC Live Streaming 2015 Round 01 North Harbour Rays vs Sydney Stars match will be kick off at Manly Oval Stadium, Sydney, NSW, Australia Saturday 22 august 2015 online, Time 15:00 AEDT and its broadcast On Fox Sports.
This, to me, is the toughest game to tip. Without a doubt the Sydney Stars were the biggest disappointment of 2014. Some sort of amalgam of Sydney University and Balmain, it was hoped they’d be a bit of a glamour club of the comp. The opened the season last year against Brisbane City and were promptly hammered by 25 points. The Rising did it next, then the Rams before a draw with the Vikings in Round five gave them their first points of the season. They would go on to win just one further game that season, in the final match against…..the North Harbour Rays. The Stars look reasonable on paper this year, without any particularly big names. They’ve got a handful of Wallabies, none of which are likely to see any game time.
Some Super talent up front in Jeremy Tilse and Tolu Latu provide them a bit of grunt and Tom Kingston and Jimmy Stewart (one of the few bright spots last year) gives them some talent further out. Their new coach Peter Playford certainly has his work cut out for them and he seems to have a unique approach to how he wants to attack this team (and it’s not one I am able to put into words – just keep an eye out for his interviews and you will understand). What Playford and his team should appreciate is that this game is an excellent opportunity to start their season much more positively than last.
The North Harbour Rays were only mildly less disappointing than the Stars last year, winning just two games. They did however come close to winning more with a couple of draws as well. They actually had a fairly strong undefeated run mid-season last year with a couple of wins and their two loses, before running into a Quade Cooper inspired Brisbane City team and being served a 70 point loss.
The Rays actually have a good looking group of Sydney club players this year, with a healthy chunk of players from the Shute Shield runners-up Manly Marlins, most notably in the nexus of Sam Lane at flyhalf and Reece Hodge at inside centre. How the boys bounce back from going so deep into the Shute Shield, meaning a very quick turnaround, may determine their early NRC success. Keep an eye out for some of their stars from 2014 in backrower Sam Ward and fulback Dave Feltscheer.
North Harbour Rays: 15 D Feltscheer (Rats), 14 A Northam (Manly), 13 M Adams (Rats), 12 T Hill (Eastwood), 11 R Woolf (Norths), 10 H Angus (Rats), 9 J Holmes (Rats)) 8 S Ward (Rats), 7 B Killingworth (Rats), 6 JJ Dempsey (Gordon), 5 C Treloar (Rats), 4 M Johnson (Gordon), 3 W Borsak (Rats), 2 L Holmes (c. Rats), 1 M Lewis (Manly).
Reserves: 16 V Elliott (Manly), 17 R O’Connor (Rats) 18 L Hunting (Norths), 19 E Gower (Manly), 20 H Bergelin (Manly), 21 T Donlan (Manly), 22 D Pili-Gaitau (Manly), 23 T Davis (Rats), 24 H Rorke (Gordon).
Sydney Stars: 1. Tolu Latu, 2. James Hanson, 3. Tom Robertson, 4. Andrew Leota, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Dave Dennis, 7. David Hickey (C), 8. Pat McCutcheon, 9. Jake Gordon, 10. Angus Roberts, 11. Harry Jones, 12. Andrew Robinson, 13. Jim Stewart, 14. Henry Clunies Ross, 15. Tom Kingston.
Reserves: 16. Tom Coolican , 17. Jeremy Tilse, 18. Matt Sandell , 19. Rohan O’reagan, 20. Jake Wainwright, 21. Richard Draper, 22. Jordan Mcgregor, 23. John Hale, 24. Ofa Finau.