NRC 2018: Season Preview

NRC 2018: Season Preview

Australia's domestic rugby tournament, the National Rugby Championship, gets underway on Saturday the 1st of September. Our rugby scribe takes a look out how the season may pan out.

Australia's answer to the Currie Cup and Mitre 10 Cup, the National Rugby Championship, gets underway on the first weekend of September, and we're set for another rather intriguing installment of the competition.

Our rugby scribe gives his opinion on who he thinks will be in the mix for semi-final contention and who may lift the title, below.

Teams
Melbourne Rising
Fijian Drua
Canberra Vikings
Queensland Country
Brisbane City
The Western Force
Sydney Rays
New South Wales Country
Canberra Vikings

Format
The tournament follows a very similar structure to this year's Currie Cup with each team playing each other once before the semi-finals start.

The competition has a unique points scoring system with six points being awarded for a try - a conversion still counts for two points, however, which means the total value of a converted try is eight points rather than the standard seven.

Contenders
Reigning champions, Queensland County, look good to defend their title with their solid squad that features many youngsters including the versatile Jame Tuttle. The youngster had a solid 2017 campaign and was immaculate off the kicking tee.

New boys on the block, the Western Force, have a very handy squad who have played a lot of rugby together already. They have a raft of experienced players including Marcel Brachie, Peter Grant, Kieran Longbottom and the well travelled, George Pisi. With players like that in their line-up, the men from Western Australia should be a real force to be reckoned with in 2018.

Another team loaded with quality players is Brisbane City. The men from Queensland were unlucky to miss out on the semi-finals last year, losing their place in the play-offs due to an inferior points differential to eventual fourth-place finishers, the Perth Spirit. With Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt in the mix, City fans can rest assured that their side will definitely make the semi-finals this time around.

Dark Horse - Fijian Drua
The men from the Pacific Islands endured a marvellous debut season in the NRC last term advancing to the semi-finals where they went down 57-21 to eventual champions, Queensland County. The Fijians would have learnt some hard lessons from their inaugural campaign and I think 2018 could well see them lift the NRC title.

Verdict: Fijian Drua to Make the Final & Western Force to Lift the Cup
The Force really are a quality outfit, and they hold a massive advantage over everyone else having been playing rugby together for the best part of 2018. My money is on them lifting the title come the close of the season.

The Fijian Drua are likely to make a big impact this year, and I can see them giving every single side in the competition a run for their money. 


Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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