2018


 
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Canberra Vikings Home Games & 2018 NRC Draw announced

Canberra Vikings are set to play host to Queensland Country in the Grand Final replay when they meet in the opening round of the 2018 National Rugby Championship (NRC) season.  

The much-anticipated clash will see Canberra Vikings try and avenge last year’s Grand Final heartbreak. They will also welcome Western Force and Melbourne Rising to Viking Park in 2018.  The match against the Western Force offers to be an exciting clash, as the Force enter this year’s NRC following on from the World Series Rugby spectacle and are coached by previous Canberra Vikings coach Tim Sampson. 

Full list of Canberra Vikings NRC games in 2018;

Round 1
Canberra Vikings vs Queensland Country
Sat 1 Sept, 5pm  |  Viking Park Canberra

Round 2
Sydney vs Canberra Vikings
Sat 8 Sept, 3pm  |  Concord Oval Sydney

Round 3
Canberra Vikings vs Western Force
Sun 16 Sept, 3pm  |  Viking Park Canberra

Round 4
NSW Country Eagles vs Canberra Vikings
Sun 23 Sept, 1pm  |  UNE Bellevue Oval Armidale

Round 5
Canberra Vikings vs Melbourne Rising
Sat 29 Sept, 7pm  |  Viking Park Canberra

Round 6
Fiji Drua vs Canberra Vikings
Sat 6 Oct, 1pm  |  Churchill Park Fiji

Round 7
Brisbane City vs Canberra Vikings
Sun 14 Oct, 3pm  |  Easts Rugby Club Brisbane

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle said: “The standout feature of the NRC is that the quality of Rugby has grown each season and there are some exciting changes this year to build the connection with fans. It is also an excellent opportunity for Super Rugby players to share their experiences with young up and coming talent”. 

The Canberra Vikings will announce a 33-man squad closer to the start of the NRC season, featuring the best players who will represent the ACT and surrounding region.

 

 
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Canberra Vikings announce 2018 coaching team

Canberra Vikings have announced Nick Scrivener as the man to replace to Tim Samspon as Head Coach of the Canberra Vikings in 2018.   Scrivener will be assisted by former Wallaby Marco Caputo and Daniel Hooper.

Nick brings a wealth of experience, including assistant coaching positions with the Wallabies and the Brumbies, Australia A, Australian u21s, and Head Coaching positions with Edinburgh, Scotland A, Toyota Verblitz in Japan, the Australian Rugby National Academy, the Canberra Vikings, and is currently Coaching Director of Tuggeranong Vikings.

Canberra Vikings welcomes Marco Caputo to the coaching team, with the former Wallaby, Brumbies and Gungahlin Eagles (Daramalan) club legend coming on board as assistant to coach to oversee the forwards and set piece.  Marco also boasts an impressive resume, including former Head Coach of Gungahlin Eagles, assistant coach at Brumbies, Leinster in Ireland, and Kobelco Steelers in Japan.

Daniel Hooper, current Brumbies Rugby Academy Head Coach and former Uni Norths Owls Head Coach, is back on board in 2018 as defence assistant coach.

“Canberra’s John I Dent Cup is a really strong competition and showcases a lot of rugby talent,” Nick says. “The local competition must always be an important part of the players pathway to the Canberra Vikings and ultimately the Brumbies and beyond.

“The coaching team look forward to watching local talent in the John I Dent Cup and will also be working with the Brumbies towards the end of the season in the selection of the final squad.”

Team Manager Denzil Fox and Head of Performance Byron Field are also returning to round off the Management Team in 2018.

 

 
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Tim Sampson Departs Canberra Vikings to head up Western Force

Canberra Vikings 2017 Head Coach Tim Sampson has taken up a 2-year contract to join the Western Force in Perth.   Sampson will lead the re-invented Western Force rugby program as Head Coach, as they play in numerous exhibition matches and in the 2018 National Rugby Championship.

Sampson lead the Canberra Vikings to arguably their most successful NRC season in 2017, finishing the regular season as Minor Premiers, before going on to host the 2017 NRC Grand Final at Viking Park narrowly going down to Queensland Country in front of a strong home crowd.  Canberra Vikings takes pride in not only being a stepping stone for players to reach higher honours, but also for coaches and support staff too.

Canberra Vikings congratulates Tim on the appointment and wishes him and his family all the best out West.  Canberra Vikings are set to appoint a new Head Coach in the coming weeks. 

 

2017


 
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GRAND FINAL: CANBERRA VIKINGS VS. QUEENSLAND COUNTRY

- Match WRAP UP

Queensland Country have broken the hearts of the Canberra Vikings to win the 2017 National Rugby Championship grand final 42-28 at Viking Park on Saturday night.

It was a cruel way to end the Vikings’ season after the home side appeared to be in control with 15 minutes remaining. However, three late tries to Country handed them the title and left Canberra wondering what might have been.

Country started the match brightly, launching numerous attacks on the Vikings’ line. However, the home side held firm and managed to start a few dangerous forays of their own.

The visitors thought they had drawn first blood 12 minutes in, but replays showed winger Filipo Daugunu brushed the sideline before flicking it back for a teammate.

Queensland ramped up the pressure and it took a breathtaking piece of running rugby to finally pierce the Vikings’ defence. An initial break from Eto Nabuli exchanged serval pairs of hands before finding its way to scrumhalf James Tuttle who touched down under the posts.

The home side hit back almost immediately through the familiar face of James Dargaville. Some good field position saw them march up to Country’s line and some the ensuring period of possession Dargaville scurried his way over.

Slowly but surely the Vikings began to turn the screws, dominating possession and looking more and more lethal with each attack. That pressure paid off with two crucial tries in the last 10 minutes of the half.

First Harry Lloyd forced his way over from the bottom of the ruck and two minutes later Rob Valentini did the same from an eerily similar position. Wharenui Hawera nailed both conversions for a half-time score of 21-7.

The visitors wasted no time in hitting back through an acrobatic effort by Daugunu in the corner. It took the TMO to confirm it and a sweetly struck conversion by Tuttle edged Country to within seven points.

They were level 10 minutes later after Daugunu grabbed his second, flying past Vikings defenders with a strong run through the middle.

Skipper Duncan Paia’Aua scored the third of the half with some quick feet and suddenly Country were leading 28-21.

15 minutes from time however Paia’Aua was yellow carded for a high tackle, handing the home side the advantage.

Substitute Lausii Taliauli quickly barged over after some impressive phases and Hawera locked scores up once again to ensure a thrilling finish.

Both sides trade blows, literally at one point, but ultimately it was Country who stole the show with the recently returned Paia’Aua who scored to give his side the lead.

Daugunu got his hat-trick with two minutes on the clock to seal the title and break Canberra hearts.

A tough way to end such a memorable season but the boys can hold their heads up after a hard-tough final.

 

Queensland County 42 (F. Daugunu 3, D. Paia’Aua 2, J. Tuttle tries; Tuttle 6 cons) def.

Canberra Vikings 28 (J. Dargaville, H. Lloyd, R. Valentini, L. Taliauli tries; W. Hawera 4 cons) at Viking Park

 

 
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ROUND 9: Greater sydney Rams vs. CaNBERRA VIKINGS

- Match Preview

The Canberra Vikings will look to start their charge towards the National Rugby Championship finals when they travel to face the Greater Sydney Rams on Sunday afternoon.

The Vikings head to the west of Sydney feeling fresh after a week off with the bye and sitting comfortably in second spot on the ladder.

Coach Tim Sampson will be hoping his side can quickly re-capture the scintillating form that blew opposition away in recent weeks. The Vikings’ last hit-out saw the team run out 71-14 winners over a hapless Sydney Rays side at Viking Park.

The Rams sit in a similar position to their city rivals, currently in seventh spot with only three wins to their name. Despite being officially out of the finals race the Rams will no doubt provide a stern test and a side with nothing to lose can often be a banana skin to higher-ranked teams.

Canberra have a named a strong, albeit less glamourous side to take the field at T.G. Millner. The Brumbies contingent of Sam Carter, Joe Powell, Henry Speight and Tom Banks are absent but are replaced by up and coming Fed Dorrough while Len Ikitau retains his place in the centres after an impressive display against the Rays.

Andrew Muirhead shifts to fullback as Banks heads into camp with the Barbarians where he will line-up against Powell and Speight.

Make sure you cheer your Vikings home. Catch the match live on Fox Sports from 3pm on Sunday!

 

Canberra Vikings Team

1. Faalelei Sione
2. Robbie Abel
3. Joel Penders
4. Darcy Swain
5. Blake Enever
6. Rob Valetini
7. Tom Cusack (c)
8. Lolo Fakao’silea

Reserves  

16. Folau Faingaa
17. Harry Lloyd
18. Max Bode
19. Dean Oakman-Hunt

 

9. Ryan Lonergan
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Lausii Taliauli
12. James Dargaville
13. Len Ikitau
14. Ben Johnston
15. Andrew Muirhead

 

  

20. Angus Allen
21. Pedro Rolando
22. Fred Dorrough
23. Mack Hansen
 

 
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ROUND 7: Canberra VIKINGS vs. sydney Rays

- Match WRAP UP

The Canberra Vikings have thrashed the Sydney Rays 71-14 at Viking Park on Sunday to clinch their third win on the trot.

Andy Muirhead got the ball rolling for the hosts when he crossed in the seventh minute off the back of some brilliant running football.

Recently selected Wallaby Folau Faingaa then barged over 10 minutes later to give the home team a two-try buffer 17 minutes into the game.

Four minutes later the hooker had another, before Wharenui Hawera made it three from three from the tee to push the score to 21-0.

The Rays’ afternoon went from bad to worse moments later when fullback Josh Turner was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on.

It didn’t take the Vikings long to make the most of the extra-man advantage, Len Ikitau and James Dargaville both crossing late in the opening half to give the hosts a 31-0 half-time lead.

The second half couldn’t have started much worse for the visitors when Gareth Bautz was given a red card for a lifting tackle on Hawera in the 44th minute.

But despite the loss of Bautz, it was the Rays who were first to trouble the scorers in the second term when Kepu Lokotui ran 90 metres to score off an intercept.

Lokotui’s try was only a minor set-back for the Vikings, who continued to pile on the points against their 14-man opponents.

Cusack, Powell, Valentini, Longergan and Dargaville all crossed to rub salt in the Rays’ wounds and make things 71-14.

 

 
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ROUND 7: Canberra vikings vs. sydney rays

- Match Preview

The Canberra Vikings will be looking to keep their perfect home record in tact when they meet the Sydney Rays at Viking Park this Sunday at 2:30pm.

The Vikings have been in brilliant form of late winning their last two games and taking the table’s top position along the way.

The Sydney Rams will be out to break their three-match losing streak when they travel to the capital but it won’t be easy taking on the high-flying Vikings.

The home team has scored 102-points and only conceded 17 in their last two outings against the Fijian Drua and Melbourne rising.

The Vikings have also been given a major boost, welcoming back wallabies Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, Henry Speight and Joe Powell into the team.

Andrew Robinson will miss the weekend’s clash due to an injury making room for Len Ikitau to come into the starting 15.

Brumby Lausii Taliauli is set to make his long awaiting return to the game being named on the bench for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in January.

Fans will be given the chance to take to the field and meet their favourite Vikings at the end of the match.

The Act Veterans Rugby Club will take on some of the city’s politicians from the Australian Parliamentary Sporting Club XV in a curtain raiser kicking off at 12:30pm., and Brumbies 7s trials will be taking place from 9.30am onwards.

Canberra Vikings will also host a Charity and Family Day this Sunday, raising awareness and funds to help the Leukemia Foundation continue supporting local families living with blood cancer.

Pre purchase tickets at www.eventbrite.com.au or at the gate on game day! 

 

Canberra Vikings Team

1. Faalelei Sione
2. Folau Faingaa
3. Les Leuluailii-Makin
4. Rory Arnold
5. Sam Carter
6. Blake Enever
7. Tom Cusack (c)
8. Rob Valetini

Reserves  

16. Robbie Abel
17. Harry Lloyd
18. Max Bode
19. Dean Oakman-Hunt

 

9. Joe Powell
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Andrew Muirhead
12. James Dargaville
13. Len Ikitau
14. Henry Speight
15. Tom Banks

 

  

20. Angus Allen
21. Ryan Lonergan
22. Mack Hansen
23. Lausii Taliauli
 

 
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ROUND 6: MELBOURNE RISING VS. CANBERRA VIKINGS

- Match Preview

The Canberra Vikings can take a huge step towards securing a finals sport when they hit the road to face the Melbourne Rising on Sunday afternoon.

The Vikings head to Melbourne currently sitting in second place on the ladder, behind only Queensland Country via points difference. That particular column was helped immeasurably thanks to their 66-5 thumping of Fiji last Friday.

Despite a near-faultless display against the Drua, coach Tim Sampson has had to shuffle his line-up around slightly. However, the changes will have Vikings fans salivating with Wallaby lock Rory Arnold coming in for his first appearance while Andrew Muirhead swaps the wing for fullback as Tom Banks heads the other way.

The Rising meanwhile have had a season to forget, winning only one game and sitting dead last on the ladder. The Victorian side suffered a disappointing 54-12 loss at the hands of Country last time out and will no doubt be eager to atone in front of their home fans.

Melbourne boast a youthful side and while this NRC campaign may deal some harsh lessons, success could be just around the corner.

You can catch all the Vikings action from 1pm Sunday via the Fox Sports website!

 

Canberra Vikings Team

1. Faalelei Sione
2. Folau Faingaa
3. Les Leuluailii-Makin
4. Blake Enever
5. Rory Arnold
6. Rob Valetini
7. Tom Cusack (c)
8. Lolo Fakao’silea

Reserves  

16. Robbie Abel
17. Harry Lloyd
18. Joel Penders
19. Darcy Swain

 

9. Ryan Lonergan
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Tom Banks
12. James Dargaville
13. Andrew Robinson
14. Ben Johnston
15. Andrew Muirhead

 

  

20. Angus Allen
21. Pedro Rolando
22. Mac Hansen
23. Len Ikitau
 

 
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ROUND 5: CANBERRA VIKINGS VS. FIJIAN DRUA

- Match WRAP UP

The Canberra Vikings have well and truly announced themselves to the rest of the NRC after demolishing the Fiji Drua 66-5 at Viking Park on Friday night.

10 tries, headlined by a hat-trick to skipper Tom Cusack , were scored by the home side as they put in a fantastic display of running rugby.

The Vikings wasted no time in opening proceedings with winger Andrew Muirhead showing some fancy footwork to cross after only five minutes.

Perhaps surprised at Canberra’s fast start, the Drua launched wave after wave of aggressive attack but the Vikings’ defence refused to be breached.

When it eventually was it came as a surprise. Drua scrumhalf Frank Lomani scurrying over from the base of the ruck.

A penalty for not releasing put the home side in good field position and they soon had another five-pointer, Sione Fa’aleilei crashing over from close range.

Wharenui Hawera added the extras with a sweetly-struck conversion a few metres from touch and the Vikings led 14-5.

Captain Cusack was next to get on the scoreboard when he went over in slightly comical fashion. The flanker caught the ball behind him, spun and went over the line backwards to touch down. Hawera continued his perfect night with the boot to extend the lead to 16 heading into the break.

Just like the first half the Vikings found themselves over the line after five minutes. Hawera fed Cusack and the skipper’s powerful run sliced the Fijian defence apart for his second. Again Hawera added the extras.

Doubles soon became the theme of the night as Fa’aleilei grabbed his second, albeit in less glamourous fashion from the bottom of the ruck. Another two points from the No.10 made it 35-7.

Tom Banks had Robbie Abel to thank for his try after the hooker made a brilliant breakaway on the short side before he found Banks on the inside. The fullback had a bit of work to do but beat his defenders to notch the Vikings’ sixth try.

Eager to catch his teammates, Banks went over again in the corner shortly after before Abel got his just rewards for a strong cameo off the bench when he scored second minutes from time.

Man of the match Cusack grabbed his hat-trick and Harry Lloyd put the icing on the cake on a fabulous night for ACT rugby.

 

Canberra Vikings 66 (T. Cusack 3, S. Fa’aleilei 2, , T. Banks 2, A. Muirhead, R. Abel, H. Lloyd tries; W.Hawera 5, , P. Rolando 2, R. Lonergan cons) def. Fiji Drua 5 (F. Lomani try)

 

 
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ROUND 5: CANBERRA VIKINGS VS. FIJIAN DRUA

- Match Preview

The Canberra Vikings will be hoping to add to their impressive home record when they take on the highflying Fijian Drua at Viking Park on Friday night.

The Vikings will be hoping their return to the capital will coincide with a return to the winning circle after having lost their last two games on the road by two or less points.

The hosts will have to be at their best if they are to beat the Fijians, who are sitting on top of the NRC table after rolling Perth Spirit 41-5 last week.

A win by the fourth-placed Vikings could see them finish the weekend sitting as high as second on the table and a bonus-point win would lock the Vikings up with Fiji on 15 competition points each.

Ben Hyne’s season-ending knee injury sees Lolo Fakao’silea come back into the starting 15 for the Vikings.

Faaleleei Sione was also named to start for the first time since returning from injury.

Pedro Rolando is set to return to the bench and will be joined by Dean Oakman-Hunt, who will make his first appearance in the red and white strip for the year.

Fresh off signing a Super Rugby contract with the Brumbies, young gun Mack Hansen has also been named on the bench.

The Vikings will take on Fiji this Friday at Viking Park kicking off at 7:30PM.

 

Canberra Vikings Team

1. Faalelei Sione
2. Folau Faingaa
3. Joel Penders
4. Darcy Swain
5. Blake Enever
6. Rob Valetini
7. Tom Cusack (c)
8. Lolo Fakao’silea

Reserves  

16. Robbie Abel
17. Harry Lloyd
18. Les Leuluailii-Makin
19. Angus Allen

 

9. Ryan Lonergan
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Ben Johnston
12. James Dargaville
13. Andrew Robinson
14. Andrew Muirhead
15. Tom Banks

 

  

20. Dean Oakman-Hunt
21. Pedro Rolando
22. Mac Hansen
23. Len Ikitau
 

 
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ROUND 4: NSW COUNTRY EAGLES VS. CANBERRA VIKINGS

- Match Preview

The Canberra Vikings will look to bounce back from last week’s narrow loss when they meet NSW Country Eagles in Armidale on Saturday afternoon.

The Vikings went down 42-40 to a star-studded Brisbane City side last Sunday in a thrilling encounter. While able to draw plenty of positives from the performance, the Canberra side won’t be dwelling on what may have been as they look to meet the eighth-placed Eagles at Bellevue Oval.

The Vikings will be without Brumbies captain Sam Carter while Robbie Abel also misses out after picking up a head knock against City. Coming into the side will be Angus Wagner, Josh White and TP Luturu with all three in line for their debut in red and white hoops.

Canberra will again look to the likes of Wharenui Hawera, Andrew Robinson and recent Wallabies call-up Tom Banks to kick-start their attack while in the forwards Tom Cusack will play his third straight match as skipper after missing the first round.

The Country Eagles may be sitting at the bottom-end of the table but any match against country opposition always proves to be a tough task. What the Eagles may lack in big names they more than make up for in grit.

Former Brumby Tom Staniforth is likely to line-up against some of his former Vikings teammates in a match that could prove critical for the fortunes of both teams’ seasons.

Make sure you cheer the Vikings on this Sunday! Catch the match on www.foxsports.com.au

 

Canberra Vikings Team

1. Harry Lloyd
2. Folau Faingaa
3. Les Leuluailii-Makin
4. Darcy Swain
5. Blake Enever
6. Ben Hyne
7. Tom Cusack (c)
8. Rob Valetini

Reserves  

16. TP Luteru
17. Angus Wagner
18. Joel Penders
19. Angus Allen

 

9. Ryan Lonergan
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Andrew Muirhead
12. James Dargaville
13. Andrew Robinson
14. Ben Johnston
15. Tom Banks

 

  

20. Lolo Faka'osilea
21. Josh White
22. Liam Moseley
23. Len Ikitau
 

 
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ROUND 3: BRisbane city vs. CANBERRA VIKINGS

- Match Preview

The Canberra Vikings will be hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the season when they travel north to face Brisbane City at the University of Queensland on Sunday.

A win up in Queensland will make it three from three for the Vikings, who came from behind to defeat reigning champions Perth Spirit 33-26.

Canberra will again field an extremely strong side and will be boosted even further with the return of Wallaby Joe Powell, who comes in for Pedro Rolando.

The only other change is in the form of Brumbies young gun Darcy Swain, who replaces Blake Enever.

Attacking rugby has been the central theme for Tim Sampson’s men so far this campaign with a combined total of 81 points being scored across the first two games.

While scoring hasn’t been an issue, an improved defensive effort will be needed to hold out their talented opposition.

Brisbane City boast a star-studded line-up with the likes of Quade Cooper, Kane Douglas and Chris Kuridrani all pulling on the gold jersey this weekend.

They are also smarting after going down to Queensland Country in the much-hyped derby last weekend.

Cooper especially will have to be well marshalled by the Vikings’ defence as he seeks to earn himself a Wallabies recall.

Both sides have history in the albeit short-lived competition with Brisbane claiming the 2015 title after defeating the Vikings 21-10 in the grand final.

The boys in red and white will no doubt be primed to fully prove their premiership credentials with one of the toughest away trips the league has to offer.

Make sure you catch all the action with the match being streamed live on www.foxsports.com.au with kick-off at 1pm!

 

Canberra Vikings Team

1. Harry Lloyd
2. Robbie Abel
3. Les Leuluailii-Makin
4. Darcy Swain
5. Sam Carter
6. Ben Hyne
7. Tom Cusack (c)
8. Rob Valetini

Reserves  

16. Folau Faingaa
17. Faalelei Sione
18. Joel Penders
19. Angus Allen

 

9. Ryan Lonergan
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Ben Johnston
12. James Dargaville
13. Andrew Robinson
14. Andrew Muirhead
15. Tom Banks

 

  

20. Lolo Fakaosilea
21. Pedro Rolando
22. Liam Moseley
23. Len Ikitau
 

 
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Round 2: CANBERRA VIKINGS VS. PERTH SPIRIT

- Match WRAP UP

The Canberra Vikings have secured a dramatic last-minute 33-26 win over the Perth Spirit at Viking Park on Sunday afternoon.

A try to Andrew Robinson three minutes from time earned all four points for the Vikings after the match seemed to be heading for a draw.

James Dargaville made a break and found Robinson in support as Canberra continued their perfect start to the season.

The home side started with a bang, dominating possession and working themselves into good field position.

That pressure soon paid off as Robbie Abel went over from a rolling maul only seven minutes in. Wharenui Hawera added the extras and the Vikings were on their way.

Canberra continued to restrict Perth’s style while throwing the ball around with some real gusto themselves. Sunny conditions and a dry track certainly made attacking rugby the order of the day.

The visitors showed some resistance but it was only a matter of time before the Vikings crossed again. This time it was through number eight Rob Valetini, who crossed from close range. Hawera sliced the conversion and the score read 12-nil after 20 minutes.

That seemed to kick Perth into gear with the visitors starring to put some good phases together, they soon found themselves camped on the Vikings’ line and a nice string of passes put Chance Peni over in the corner. Lance was unable to cut the margin further as his conversion attempt drifted wide.

The Vikings weren’t done however and with six minutes until half-time Valetini had his double, crossing from a well-worked move. Hawera slotted a difficult conversion and gave us a score of 19-7 at the break.

Whatever Spirit coach Kevin Foote said to his team in the sheds worked as the visitors came out firing.

Firstly, it was Anaru Rangi who went over minutes after the restart. The big hooker showing some silky skills to catch an inside ball one-handed.

Kane Koteka was the next to cross for the Spirit and Lance’s conversion levelled the scores.

The Vikings were desperately trying to hit back but their cause wasn’t helped when Ben Johnston was yellow carded for a knockdown.

Perth need no further invitation and when Isireli Naisarani went over they had the lead.

But just like last week the Vikings showed amazing character to hit back. The home side worked itself into some good field position and local prop Harry Lloyd managed to crash over to the right of the posts. Hawera added the extras to lock it up at 26-all with 10 to play.

Two minutes from time and Robinson got the crowd off their feet as he streaked away to score the match-winner.

Canberra Vikings    33

Tries: Valetini, Abel, Lloyd, Robinson

Conversions: Hawera (4)

Perth Spirit    26

Tries: Naisarani, Koteka, Rangi, Peni

Conversions: Lance (3)

 

 
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ROUND 2: CANBERRA VIKINGS VS. PERTH SPIRIt

- Match Preview

The Canberra Vikings will look to make it two from two when they take on defending premiers the Perth Spirit at Viking Park on Sunday.

The Vikings put on a fantastic attacking display in their National Rugby Championship opening round against Queensland Country, running in seven tries to complete a come-from-behind win.

The boys will aim for a repeat of last week’s win but know taking on the reigning premiers doesn’t come as an easy task.

Perth will also be hoping to remain in the winners’ circle when it visits the capital after downing Melbourne 45-33 at home last week.

The home team will have to tighten up its defence this week if it is to match it with the in form westerners, but has received a giant boost with captain Tom Cusack slotting back in.

The Vikings will be hoping Cusack replicates the superb form that saw the local boy earn his first cap with the Brumbies in April earlier this year.

Rob Valetini and Pedro Rolando have both earned their first starts for the season after impressive stints off the bench during last week’s win.

Rolando’s selection was extremely well earned off the back of a sublime 2017 season for Royals in the John I Dent Cup.

Faalelei Sione and young Brumby Ryan Lonergan have both been included on the bench for the clash.

The Vikings and Spirit will lock horns at Viking Park, kicking off at 1pm.

 

Canberra Vikings Team

1. Harry Lloyd
2. Robbie Abel
3. Les Leuluailii-Makin
4. Blake Enever
5. Sam Carter
6. Ben Hyne
7. Tom Cusack (c)
8. Rob Valetini

Reserves  

16. Folau Faingaa
17. Faalelei Sione
18. Joel Penders
19. Angus Allen

 

9. Pedro Rolando
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Ben Johnston
12. James Dargaville
13. Andrew Robinson
14. Andrew Muirhead
15. Tom Banks

 

  

20. Lolo Faka'osilea
21. Ryan Lonergan
22. Liam Moseley
23. Len Ikitau
 

 
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Round 1: CANBERRA VIKINGS VS. QUEENSLAND COUNTRY

- Match WRAP UP

The Canberra Vikings have kicked off their 2017 National Rugby Championship campaign with a thrilling 48 to 40-point win over Queensland Country.

Caleb Timu opened the scoring for Queensland in the 14th minute, barging over from close range to give his team the early lead. James Tuttle made no mistakes with the conversion taking the score to 7 – 0.

Queensland’s early lead was very short lived as Tom Banks broke through the visitors’ line a minute later. The fullback found Andrew Robinson running in support to put his centre in under the posts for his first 5 pointer of the season.

Banks went one better in in the 19th minute crossing in the corner to give the Vikings the lead for the first time. An unsuccessful conversion left the score at 12 – 7.

Leading from the front, captain Duncan Paia’aua hit back for Queensland Country diving on the end of a lovely kick to level up the scores at 12 all in the 26th minute.

Both teams then ran in another two tries each in to cap off a great half of entertaining rugby which saw the scores level at 26 points all going into the break.

Queensland were the first team to strike after the break with Sef Fa’agase barging over to give his team their 7-point lead back.

The visitors then extended their lead five minutes later after quickly capitalizing on a turnover to push the score out to a 14-point lead.

Ben Hyne hit back for the Vikings in the 54th minute, barging through Queensland’s defensive line to reduce the margin to just 7-points.

Fresh from the Wallabies’ camp, Joe Powell continued his brilliant year crossing in the 64th minute to equal the scores up at 40-points a piece with just 16 minutes left in the game.

It didn’t take Joel Penders long to make his impact off the bench and the forward couldn’t have picked a better time to bag his first try of the season. Snatching back the lead for his team with 10 minutes left on the clock.

A late penalty conversion by Wharenui Hawera pushed the home team out to an eight-point lead to seal a 48 to 40-point win for the Canberra Vikings.

Canberra Vikings    48

Tries: Robinson, Banks, Muirhead, Abel, Hyne, Powell, Penders

Conversions: Hawera (5)

Penalties: Hawera (1)

Queensland Country    40

Tries: Timu, Paia’aua, Tuttle, Fa’agase

Conversions: Tuttle (5)

 

 
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ROUND 1: CANBERRA VIKINGS VS. QUEENSLAND COUNTRY

- Match Preview

New-look Canberra Vikings side set to get off to a flying start.

After weeks of anticipation the Canberra Vikings will finally get their National Rugby Championship campaign underway when they meet Queensland Country at Viking Park on Saturday.

The Vikings will be keen to make a strong start to the season after missing the finals in 2016, finishing one spot outside the top four.

However, with a revamped structure, including a new coach and captain in Tim Sampson and Olympian Tom Cusack respectively, the Canberra side will fancy their chances of starting the season with a bang.

Canberra will take a strong line-up into Round 1 with Brumbies regulars Robbie Abel, stand-in skipper Blake Evener, Sam Carter, Joe Powell, Wharenui Hawera and Tom Banks all being named to start.

Adding to the excitement, newly signed Brumby Darcy Swain will claim a spot on the bench alongside fellow Australian Under 20s representative Angus Allen.

After leading his club to a grand final appearance, Wests’ skipper Harry Lloyd will also look to push on after being named as the starting loosehead prop.

For their opponents, the only way is up after ending their 2016 campaign with the wooden spoon.

Coached by All Blacks legend Brad Thorn, Country have finished no higher than eighth in their three NRC seasons but the Vikings will not be underestimating a team that is undoubtedly on the rise.

This year’s squad features the likes of Reds speedster Eto Nabuli, and lock Izack Rodda, who came off the bench for the Wallabies in last week’s Bledisloe Cup loss.

With both sides having plenty to prove, the NRC should get off to a flyer in the nations’ capital.

The Vikings will don a commemorative Canberra Kookaburras jersey on Saturday and will no doubt be hoping to take the crowd on a nostalgic trip with some attacking, running rugby.

Key Match-up

Sam Carter vs. Izack Rodda

An up and coming lock clashes with one of the best in the business. While Brumbies captain Sam Carter was unlucky to miss out on the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship squad, their loss is the Vikings’ gain. Lining up opposite to him on Saturday will be the man who took his place, Izack Rodda. The 21-year-old Reds’ number four will be desperate to fight his way back after being dropped from Michael Cheika’s squad. It’ll be on for young and old come 3pm!

Where and When

Canberra Vikings vs. Queensland Country
Viking Park, ACT
Kick off 3pm
Tickets available at the gate

 

Canberra Vikings Team

1. Harry Lloyd  
2. Robbie Abel
3. Les Leuluailii-Makin
4. Blake Enever (C)    
5. Sam Carter
6. Ben Hyne
7. Angus Allen  
8. Lolo Faka'osilea  

Reserves                                       

16. Folau Faingaa
17. Joel Penders
18. Lolo Fakaosilea
19. Darcy Swain

 

9.   Joe Powell
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Ben Johnston
12. James Dargaville
13. Andrew Robinson
14. Andrew Muirhead
15. Tom Banks

 

 

20. Rob Valetini
21. Pedro Rolando
22. Liam Moseley
23. Len Ikitau
 

 
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CANBERRA VIKINGS ANNOUNCE THE 2017 ASSISTANT COACHING POSITION

Canberra Vikings have announced its assistant coaching team for the upcoming National Rugby Championship season. The announcement comes after the Australian Rugby Union released the draw for the upcoming season, with the first game of the season kicking off in Canberra on Saturday 2 September.

Following on from Tim Sampson’s appointment as Head Coach, the new Canberra Vikings team will be steered by an experienced panel of quality coaches.

Daniel Hooper, current Brumbies Rugby Coaching Development Manager and first grade coach at the Uni-Norths Owls has been selected as the Canberra Vikings Assistant Coach and will back Sampson in their NRC pursuit.

Hooper has been selected because of his solid coaching performance in the local John I Dent Cup competition with the Uni-Norths Owls. His appointment highlighting the solid pathways the NRC provides for local coaches to progress to a national/international stage.

“It’s a great opportunity to be coaching in a professional competition, with such a strong playing and coaching group,” Hooper said. “Tim Sampson has had a lot of success already in the QLD and ACT Premier competitions, so I am looking forward to working with him and the other guys, and hopefully as a group we can be challenging for the NRC finals this year”.

Sampson and Hopper will be assisted in their roles by Ruaidhri (Rory) Murphy (Forwards Coach) and Dan Palmer (Scrum Coach).

The appointment of former ACT Brumbies prop Rory, is another testament to the pathways provided by the NRC. Rory spent three seasons at the Brumbies before moving his career to Ulster, only moving back to Canberra to buy a café with former Brumby Matt Toomua. Now Rory will get the opportunity to put what he learnt as a player in to practice, an opportunity he is ready to take on.

“I feel very honoured to have been named forwards coach, it is a true testament to the NRC as a genuine pathways competition. As a former player, I am excited to now get the opportunity to coach with this very talented group,” Murphy stated.

A former Wallaby, Dan Palmer has never turned his back on rugby, taking up specialist coaching roles with the Brumbies and now the Canberra Vikings as a scrum and set play expert. Palmer made a name for himself in Super Rugby as one of the toughest props in the game and he’s taken that toughness with him into his coaching roles.

"We have some good local scrummagers coming into the squad" Palmer said.  "They are here because they have shown the potential to take their game to the next level, and I am very much looking forward to working with them".

The NRC is all about opportunity; for the players, coaches and the staff - and the Canberra Vikings are set on embracing that philosophy through-and-through.  The first game is scheduled for Saturday 2 September with Canberra Vikings taking on Old Country.