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05 Jan

National Rugby Championship: Vikings put hands up for Wallabies selection

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Joe Powell makes a break for the Canberra Vikings against Queensland Country. Photo: QRU/SportographyWallabies selections may be the only disruption that will emerge for the Canberra Vikings following their dominant 58-20 thrashing of Queensland Country in their round one National Rugby Championship clash.

The Queensland team selected a strong side but were no match for the Brumbies-ladened Vikings, who had 36 points on the board before their opponents finally scored deep in the second half on Sunday at Bond University Oval on the Gold Coast.

Rory Arnold was his usual powerful self in his return from an elbow injury, scoring two tries, as was Henry Speight, who also bagged a brace off the bench. And with another poor showing by the Wallabies on Saturday night, higher honours could be calling.

Arnold was partnered in the second row by Blake Enever, who said his side’s depth was equipped to cope with any players being withdrawn.

“That’s the goal, we want players to move on and take those honours. If it happens we have guys in the squad that will step up, but that would be awesome to see because that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to make people better,” he said.

Enever said the Vikings’ forward pack set up the win early, dominating the set piece.

“The forwards were dominant but the backs were finishing really well, they took advantages of the holes, ran well and supported each other,” he said.

“NRC is a different beast, there was a lot more rugby being played in the 80 minutes, so it was a lot tougher.”

Winger James Dargaville was also prominent, scoring the first try. However, he injured his shoulder scoring his second and will miss up to two weeks.

Scrum-half Joe Powell was instrumental in the first two tries and controlled the game superbly.

He passed with intent and created momentum for the Vikings with dangerous breaks around the ruck.

With five minutes remaining, Australian under-20s representative Jordan Jackson-Hope put the nail in the coffin, slicing through Country’s defence to bring up the half-century for the Vikings. Speight crossed for the final try on full-time.

Queensland Country coach Toutai Kefu said it was hard for his team to get in the match with so little possession.

“We have an attacking game plan based on possession and we weren’t able to control our own ball today, which made it hard for us to pressure the Vikings,” he said.

The Vikings will play their first home game of the season next Sunday at Viking Park against NSW Country.


Canberra Vikings 58 (J Dargaville 2 H Speight 2 R Arnold 2 R Abel J Jackson-Hope tries N Jooste 5 goals) bt Queensland Country 20 (T Banks 2 I Perese tries M Mason goal) at Bond Uni, Gold Coast.

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