NRC: Round 5 Preview

NRC 2018: Season Preview

The fifth round of the 2018 National Rugby Championship gets underway on Saturday the 29th of September.

Last week saw some major shocks in Australia's NRC with Brisbane City beating the Melbourne Rising, the Fijian Drua being run close by the struggling Sydney Rays, and the Western Force beating reigning champions Queensland County.

This week could also throw up a few upsets with some of the minnows fired up from the shifts they put in last week.

Fijian Drua v New South Wales Country Eagles
Saturday 29 September
ANZ National Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Drua 3/8
Draw 22/1
Country Eagles 12/6

The Fijian Drua will head home in good spirits this week as they occupy first spot on the ladder after beating the bottom-placed Sydney Rays 31-34. The men from the Pacific Island had to dig deep for their win having trailed 22-5 at half-time. The comeback win will have given the Fijians a hell of a lot of belief and stands them in good stead for the remainder of the tournament.

The seventh-placed New South Wales Country Eagles had a far less productive Round 4 as they went down by seven points to the Canberra Vikings, that was the Country Eagles third loss of the campaign and it looks like they will be involved in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon rather than fighting for a semi-final berth.

Verdict: Fijian Drua 3/8
While they were far from their best last week the Drua still managed to get over the line. I can see a return to Suva sparking a big win over a struggling Country Eagles side. My money is on the hosts taking this one by 18 points or more.

Canberra Vikings v Melbourne Rising
Saturday 29 September
Viking Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Canberra Vikings 5/10
Draw 25/1
Melbourne Rising 9/10

The Canberra Vikings will be looking to bag their fourth win of the campaign when they take on the sixth-placed Melbourne Rising this Saturday. The hosts for the encounter find themselves in a rather handy position midway through the season as they currently reside in third place only a solitary point off the league-leading Fijian Drua. They also head into this one off the back of a hard-fought 17-24 away win over the New South Wales Country Eagles.

The Melbourne Rising endured a contrasting Round 4 result to that of their opponents as they went down 28-33 to Brisbane City. The loss has seen them drop six points off the top 4 and they can ill-afford another defeat here.

Verdict: Canberra Vikings 5/10
The Vikings have been rock solid on home soil for the past few years and I cannot see them slipping up against a mediocre Rising outfit. My money is on the hosts taking this one by eight points or more.

Brisbane City v Queensland Country
Sunday 30 September
Sci Fleet Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Brisbane 10/11
Draw 25/1
Queensland 5/1

We kick Sunday's double-bill off with a Queensland derby between Brisbane City and Queensland Country. The hosts head into the fixture off the back of a 28-33 away win over the Melbourne Rising, which has seen them move up to fifth-place on the tournament standings.

Queensland Country didn't fare as well in Round 4 as they went down 40-42 at home to the Force. The result has seen this weekend's visitors drop from the top of the standings into second place.

Verdict: Brisbane 5/1
This should be a cracker of a derby with both sides implementing very attack-minded game plans. I'm going to have a small strike on the hosts winning a high-scorer.

Force v Sydney Rays
Sunday 30 September
UWA Sports Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Force 9/10
Draw 25/1
Sydney Rays 10/1

We close out the round five action with a clash between the fourth-placed Force and the cellar-dwelling Sydney Rays. The hosts enjoyed a marvelous round four, claiming a mammoth 40-42 victory over reigning champions, Queensland Country, away from home.

The Sydney Rays also put in a great shift last week but ultimately went down 31-34 to a far superior Fijian Drua outfit. Despite it being their fourth loss of the season, the Rays will still take a lot of confidence from their defeat to the Fijians.

Verdict: Force 9/10
The Force will be buoyed by their showing against the reigning 'champs and I can see them kicking on from here on in. My money is on the host taking this one by 14 points or more.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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