NRC Final: Canberra Vikings v Queensland County Preview



The Canberra Vikings and Queensland County will go head-to-head in the National Rugby Championship Final on Saturday the 11th of November.


The Australian domestic rugby season will reach a pulsating crescendo this Saturday with the Canberra Vikings taking on Queensland County at Viking Park. The hosts come into this one as slight favourites due to having home ground advantage but it must be remembered that last year's final went the way of the Perth Spirit, who were the away side on that occasion.

So, can Queensland replicate the Spirits achievement and win a final away from home or will Canberra produce the goods in front of their home faithful?


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Canberra Vikings v Queensland County | Saturday 11 November | Viking Park | 10:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Canberra 13/20 | Draw 19/1 | Queensland 13/10
Handicap
Canberra (-0.5) 9/10 | Queensland (+1.5) 9/10 *Please note that this is a forecast handicap

Canberra

The Vikings enjoyed a great round-robin campaign winning six of their eight fixtures and claiming five bonus points on their way to securing a semi-final berth. They were however reliant on their superior points differential to secure them home final hosting rights as they were level on points with Queensland County at the close of the regular season.

The Vikings were given a stern test by the Perth Spirit in their semi-final last week, edging the defending Champions 40-35 in a fiercely contested affair. The game would have been ideal preparation for this weekend's final with a heap of pressure applied on the Vikings by the defending champions.

Key to last weekend's semi-final victory was Vikings' pivot Wharenui Hawera. The fly-half landed five out of six conversions against the Spirit. He tops the tournament standings alongside Queensland Country James Tuttle when it comes to conversions having landed 34 shots at goal. He'll have a massive role to play here.

Queensland

Country really should be hosting this game as they had top spot in the bag during the final round of the regular season only needing a win against the Perth Spirit to assure them hosting rights to the final. A pathetic second-half showing saw them chuck away 19 point half-time lead to go down 29-26.

To their credit, County bounced back from that defeat with a magnificent semi-final display against the Fijian Drua, which they won 57-21. The star of the show last week was prop Taniela Tupou who grabbed a brace of tries and destroyed his opposite number at scrum-time. The big man has a penchant for scoring tries in big games and rose to prominence by grabbing a hat-trick for the Australian Schoolboys side against their New Zealand counterparts three years ago.

Another man who played a big role in last week's victory was scrum-half James Tuttle. The youngster was in fine form with the boot kicking five out of eight conversions. He may need to up that stat somewhat here as finals, even in an as open a competition as the NRC, are generally decided by the goal kickers.

Verdict: Canberra 13/20
I think Canberra will take this one by the slimmest of margins. They have a vastly experienced squad who know how to perform under pressure. They also beat Country by eight points during the round-robin phase which should give them somewhat of a psychological advantage. My play for this one is a small strike on the home win.  


Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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