2018


 
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JACKSON-HOPE NAMED VIKINGS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Centre Jordan Jackson-Hope has been named as the Canberra Vikings National Rugby Championship (NRC) Player of the year following a season of stellar performances for the ACT side.

Jackson-Hope was in inspirational form for most of the campaign, claiming 31 points, leading the club’s try-scorers with five, alongside Lausii Taliauli, and adding a trio of conversions to boot. Many of his scores were outstanding solo efforts, but it wasn’t just his ability to find the line that stood out

‘Rab’s, as he is affectionately known, put in a series of glittering displays in the six matches he played, creating space with his ability to break the opposition defence and showcasing his eye for the unorthodox in making room for those outside. 

His burgeoning centre partnership with Len Ikitau was one of the highlights as the Vikings made the semi-finals before falling in a valiant defeat to the Fijian Drua in the last four.

For his role in that centre-pairing Ikitau was awarded the Canberra Vikings Best Back Trophy for 2018, the lively youngster bagging three tries in the last four outings of the campaign to round off a memorable tournament.

Young gun Darcy Swain scooped the Vikings Best Forward Award, playing in every minute, bar seven, of all eight matches in the competition and leading by example with a strong ball-carrying ethic, proving tough in the tackle and being a dominant figure in the line-out.

Meanwhile, the Viking Team Award went to local Canberra Royals winger Seth Going for his outstanding attitude to the team throughout the season. 

CANBERRA VIKINGS 2018 NRC AWARD WINNERS

Player of Year: Jordan Jackson-Hope

Best Back: Len Ikitau

Best Forward: Darcy Swain

Viking Team Award: Seth Going

 

 
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SEMI FINAL: FIJIAN Drua VS. canberra vikings

- Match WRAP UP

The Canberra Vikings fell just short of a place in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) Grand Final after defeat to the Fijian Drua in wet and windy conditions at Churchill Park in Lautoka. 

Leading 23-7 at one stage, the Vikings were unable to withstand a second-half Fijian onslaught with the home team edging the tie thanks in the main to three successful conversions from replacement Enele Malele as both teams crossed for five tries in an absorbing contest. 

The loss of leading points scorer Wharenui Hawera after only eight minutes due to a leg injury severely hampered the Vikings chances with the prolific flyhalf having been in deadly form from the tee during the regular season.

There was little indication of the turnaround that was to follow as the Vikings stamped their authority on the match in the early stages taking control of the set-piece and playing sensibly for territory given the conditions underfoot, a slippery surface making free-flowing rugby very difficult.

An early score from winger Andy Muirhead in the 12th minute gave the visitors a perfect start and when Lausii Taliauli added his fifth of the season just eight minutes later Nick Scrivener’s side led 10-0. Crucially, Noah Lolesio, on for the injured Hawera was unable to add the extras on either occasion.

The young playmaker was having a better time of it in open field, directing his team around the park like a seasoned veteran and adding a well-struck penalty shortly after Frank Lomani had crossed for the hosts.

A third try on the stroke of half-time by Rob Valetini seemed to give Vikings the momentum heading into the second half and, when Tom Banks cantered over five minutes after the interval to open a 23-7 lead, the Vikings had one foot in the Grand Final. 

That footing was however as perilous as the surface water scattered across the Churchill Park playing field and the Vikings were to come unstuck as the Drua suddenly found their passes sticking.

A trio of tries within sixteen minutes swung the game in favour of the home side as Eroni Mawi, Eramasi Radrodro and Aporosa Tabulawaki also scooted over with Malele kicking all three conversions.

A penalty try four minutes from time sealed it for the Drua despite a valiant ending to the contest as Lolesio found a way over for the Vikings but their season ended when the referee blew the full-time whistle only seconds later.

Statistics 

Fijian Drua (7) 35 (T: Lomani, Mawi, Radrodro, Tabulawaki, Penalty Try, C: Waqatabu, Malele (4))

Canberra Vikings (18) 28 (Muirhead, Taliauli, Valetini, Banks, Lolesio, P: Lolesio)

 

 
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Semi final: Fijian Drua VS. canberra vikings

- Match preview

Canberra Vikings Head Coach Nick Scrivener has made one change to the starting line-up for the National Rugby Championship (NRC) Semi-Final clash against the Fijian Drua at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Saturday whilst including a Wallaby international on the bench.
 
Scrumhalf Joe Powell is selected to start in the number nine shirt with Ryan Lonergan swapping places with the Australian international, taking a spot amongst the finishers in what looks to be an exciting bench which includes Australian international Pete Samu.
 
Other than that, it’s as you were for the Vikings, Scrivener opting to stick with most of the matchday twenty-three that did the business in Brisbane last weekend, securing a semi-final sport with a gritty 13-10 win over Brisbane City in atrocious conditions.
 
New Brumbies signing, prop Vunipola Fifita, continues in a front row that also includes Tom Ross and Josh Mann-Rea with the second-row pairing of Rory Arnold and Darcy Swain, who ruled the lineouts against City, continuing together.
 
Ben Hyne will captain the side yet again, from his regular position at number 8, in a backrow that also features BJ Edwards and Rob Valetini, the trio sure to have a huge impact on the outcome of the game as the Vikings aim to try and stifle the flow of the exciting Fijians by dominating possession.
 
Leading points scorer Wharenui Hawera, the flyhalf has registered 61 points for the club in the seven matches played so far, will continue in the ten jersey outside of Powell, the duo being united for the fifth time this season inside of a dynamic centre pairing of Jordan Jackson-Hope and Len Ikitau, the centre pair having crossed for eight tries between them.
 
There’s further try-scoring quality out wide with the back-three of Andy Muirhead, Lausii Taliauli and Tom Banks, the latter jetting off to join the Wallabies for their Test against New Zealand in Japan after the game, having crossed the try-line seven times.
 
Lonergan is one of three backs named on the bench by Scrivener for what is sure to be an energy-sapping match in Lautoka, the Junior Wallabies scrumhalf adding punch and pace from the replacements alongside the impressive Noah Lolesio and Brumbies recruit Irae Simone.
 
Up front Scrivener will be hoping that his forward changes will have the same impact as they did in Queensland as the front row of Sione Taula, Connal McInerney and Max Bode wait for their chance, whilst Blake Enever and Wallaby Pete Samu, in line for his first Vikings cap, could both have important parts to play in the contest.
 
Vikings fans can watch the semi-final match against the Fijian Drua live on Fox Sports 503 on Saturday 20 October with kick-off at 3pm.

Team List

1. Vunipola FIFITA
2. Josh MANN-REA
3. Tom ROSS
4. Rory ARNOLD
5. Darcy SWAIN
6. Rob VALETINI
7. BJ EDWARDS
8. Ben HYNE
9. Joe Powell
10. Wharenui HAWERA
11. Andy MUIRHEAD
12. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE
13. Len IKITAU
14. Lausii TALIAULI
15. Tom BANKS

- Replacements

16. Connal MCINERNEY
17. Sione TAULA
18. Max BODE
19. Blake ENEVER
20. Pete SAMU
21. Ryan LONERGAN
22. Noah LOLESIO
23. Irae SIMONE

Details

Fijian Drua vs Canberra Vikings
Sat 20 Oct 2018  /  Churchill Park, Fiji  /  3pm Kick Off

 

 
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Round 7: Brisbane City VS. canberra vikings

- Match WRAP UP

Canberra Vikings will take on Fiji Drua in the National Rugby Championship Semi-Final after a determined 13-10 win over Brisbane City at Easts Rugby club in Round 7, a victory that secured them fourth place on the ladder. 

Despite the conditions, the match was played in wind and rain which left the surface cloggy, Canberra played expansive football from the off and, ten minutes into the game, the Vikings opened their account in stunning fashion.

A perfectly timed inside ball from Jordan Jackson-Hope, who was levelled in the process, put Tom Banks into space, popping off a pass to Len Ikitau who had the easy task of trotting over and sliding into a large puddle formed in the Brisbane goal-line. Hawera added the extras giving the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.

Canberra kept the pressure up, able to move the slippery pill through the hands to make yards through the backs. However, with Brisbane’s scrum beginning to make their mark on the game, the home side marched their way out of their own territory and into the Vikings half.

Their yellow jerseys turning a mud-coloured brown, City went through phase after phase, with Canberra digging in well in defence. Finally, Brisbane turned their pressure into points, star Quade Cooper taking a quick penalty-tap and using the smooth turf to slither over for the try, though he couldn’t find the range off the tee.

Vikings recovered well, maintaining their endeavour to play despite the difficulties handling the ball. Canberra had a perfect chance to add a second-try to their tally just before half-time when captain Ben Hyne picked a peach of a line and galloped into Brisbane’s half.

Jackson-Hope supported well, and if Hyne could have found him a try was guaranteed, but the skipper held on just too long and the chance went begging allowing Brisbane to clear their lines.

A big opportunity lost, though Vikings didn’t fret, and added to their lead before the break, Hawera converting a penalty into three points off the boot. 10-5 was a fair reflection of the forty minutes, though Canberra could possibly have been up big had the breaks gone their way.

The second half started much like the first, the Vikings playing all the rugby and dominating all areas, save the scrum. Ironically, it was from the set-piece where Canberra extended their lead in the 47th minute, Hawera turning a scrum-penalty into three points, pushing the Vikings advantage to more than a converted try. 

As they did in the first-period, Brisbane used the scrum to get back into the game, their advantage in that area re-established in a big way. City pummelled the Vikings line, and this time it was Wallaby rake Brandon Paenga-Amosa who snuck over from short-range. Cooper’s conversion sailed wide, Vikings retaining a slim 13-10 lead.

Scrum drama continued to dominate proceedings and after conceding another penalty, Vikings tighthead Tom Ross was sent to the bin. Down a player, 14 heavy-legged Vikings battled to stay in the lead. Somehow, the visitors got their way into Brisbane’s half.

Vikings just couldn’t find the line however, and as was the story of the day, Brisbane exited their redzone after being awarded their seventh scrum-penalty of the day. Having defended for much of the second half, Canberra looked out on their feet as the home side moved in for the killer blow.  

Inspired by replacements Noah Lolesio and Connal McInerney, the Vikings were able to survive a late onslaught from Brisbane, and hung on for what was a famous victory, the final score 10-13 to the Vikings.  Canberra will now travel to Fiji to take on the Drua, the 2018 Minor Premiers, in the semi-final.

Statistics 

Brisbane City (5) 10 (T: Q.Cooper, B.Paenga-Amosa)

Canberra Vikings (10) 13 (T: L.Ikitau, C: Hawera, P: Hawera (2))

 

 
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Round 7: Brisbane City VS. canberra vikings

- Match preview

The Canberra Vikings head to Brisbane this weekend for a winner-takes-all National Rugby Championship (NRC) showdown with Brisbane City at Bottomley Park home of Easts Rugby Club in Coorparoo. The winner will make the finals with the loser set to miss out.

It’s probably the perfect way to end the regular season in which the Vikings have often gone against the odds and turned in performances that have yielded points when many experts within the game have predicted that they would be on the losing side.

Last week the team showed remarkable powers of resilience and determination to come back from a mountainous deficit in Lautoka against the Fiji Drua almost claiming what would have been a comeback win for the ages. Only a combination of fatigue and the oppressive conditions denied Nick Scrivener’s men in the end.

The Vikings won handsomely away to Brisbane City in 2016, thrashing the home side 52-20 before falling in a nail-biter last season, the home side coming out on top in a thriller by 42 points to 40.

A similar result this time around wouldn’t be enough, although a draw would enable the Vikings to make the top four. Conceivably, should Queensland Country lose their final match against the NSW Country Eagles and the Force fall to Fiji, the Vikings could have a home semi-final through a big bonus-point win in Brisbane.

However, the focus will surely be on just maximising their return with a win first and foremost and, against a Brisbane side who have won their last two with victories over Queensland Country at home (39-24) and the Eagles away (28-27) the challenge will be tough.

It’s been a solid season for the Vikings though, the side having only been defeated twice so far this term and having dogged out impressive wins over the Eagles, Force and Rising before the setback in the Pacific Islands.

With everything up for grab the Vikings will no doubt leave nothing on the park after what is sure to be an exhilarating and nerve-shredding eighty minutes of rugby. It’s as if the knockout rounds have come a week earlier and, for one of these proud opponents, they’ll be left on the canvas for 2018 come the final whistle.

Vikings supporters can watch the match live on Fox Sports Channel 503 from 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

National Rugby Championship Ladder 

1. Fiji Drua, 23 points
2. Western Force, 22 points 
3. Queensland Country, 19 points
4. Canberra Vikings, 18 points 
5. Brisbane City, 17 points 
6. Melbourne Rising, 8 points 
7. NSW Country Eagles, 6 points 
8. Sydney, 1 point 

Team List

1. Vunipola FIFITA
2. Josh MANN-REA
3. Tom ROSS
4. Rory ARNOLD
5. Darcy SWAIN
6. Rob VALETINI
7. BJ EDWARDS
8. Ben HYNE
9. Ryan LONERGAN
10. Wharenui HAWERA
11. Andy MUIRHEAD
12. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE
13. Len IKITAU
14. Lausii TALIAULI
15. Tom BANKS

- Replacements

16. Connal MCINERNEY
17. Sione TAULA
18. Max BODE
19. Blake ENEVER
20. Brodie LEBER
21. Joe POWELL
22. Noah LOLESIO
23. Irae SIMONE

Details

Brisbane City vs Canberra Vikings
Sat 14 Oct 2018  /  Bottomley Park, Coorparoo  /  3pm Kick Off

 

 
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Round 6: Fijian Drua VS. canberra vikings

- Match WRAP UP

As many have this season, the Vikings have fallen to the dangerous Fiji Drua, 40-35 as a late Canberra comeback came up short. 

The Vikings struck first but found themselves down by more than twenty points midway through the contest before rallying to push Fiji all the way.

Five converted tries including a double from Jordan Jackson-Hope wasn’t enough to rescue the result for Canberra, now needing a win in Brisbane this weekend to secure a finals berth.

Drua were in their high-flying best early, but a loose pass allowed Vikings centre Len Ikitau to steal in, scoop up the pill and run in for the opening score. Hawera converted giving Canberra an early advantage.

The lead wouldn’t last long however, as the Fijian’s scored two scorching tries in quick succession, both converted to put the home side up 14-7. 

All day, Drua capitalised on Vikings mistakes, and in the 25th minute Fiji extended the gap, Apisalome Waqatabu taking Andy Muirhead’s spill to the house for his second and Drua’s third try of the first-half.

Then, off the ensuing restart, Drua went the length of the park to score again. Levani Kurumudu, Fiji’s powerhouse wing, got the break started, slipping through two tackles before stiff-arming Joe Powell to the turf.

Kurumudu found his flyhalf Alifereti Veitokani, and the impressive playmaker raced away for the try of the day. 26-7 inside 30 minutes.

Fiji weren’t finished however, and on the half-hour mark Aporosa Tabulawaki caught the Vikings defence napping and broke through off an inside ball to run in untouched for their fifth five-pointer. 

Facing a 33-7 scoreboard with time dwindling in the first period, Canberra needed a lift and finally got it, Jordan Jackson-Hope the beneficiary of a howler from Waqatabu. Hawera added the extras, the Vikings entering the break with a renewed sense of hope. 

If Canberra felt belief, Drua must have had a sense of deja-vu as forty-seconds after the game resumed, Jackson-Hope once again turned a Fiji fumble into five-points. Hawera’s touchline conversion was magnificent, and the Vikings were truly back in the contest. 

Eight minutes later, Canberra’s backline conjured a piece of magic, starting again with Jackson-Hope. The Brumbies centre stepped once, accelerated into space then released Lausii Taliauli down the right.

Tackled immediately, Taliauli had the presence of mind to pop the ball off to Joe Powell and the star halfback dived over for Canberra’s best effort of the afternoon.

With just over twenty to play, the visitors valiant fightback was complete. A rare short-range forward try in an otherwise open game; the honour fell to Uni-Norths Owls tighthead Max Bode to bury over for Canberra’s fifth score. Hawera made no mistake from the boot, and the Vikings now had a slender 35-33 lead. 

Mirroring the first half, the Vikings advantage was short-lived. With players from both sides out on their feet, Drua’s star Kurumudu produced a stunning solo-effort to retake the lead for the home side. Veitokani kicked his sole conversion to tighten Fiji’s grip on the win.

That wonder-try left the score at 40-35 and that’s how it finished, Vikings pushing until the end but Drua held on for victory.

Fiji take on the Western Force this weekend to decide who takes top spot, whilst Queensland Country could potentially leapfrog WA if they win with a bonus against the NSW Country Eagles.

For the Vikings, the task is simple but difficult. A win in Brisbane secures a top-four finish, anything less than a draw means they will miss out. It should be a cracking game in Queensland.  

Statistics 

Fiji Drua 40 (T: Waqatabu (2), Kurumudu (2), Veitokani, Tabulawaki, C: Waqatabu (4), Veitokani) 

Canberra Vikings 35 (T: Ikitau, Jackson-Hope (2), Powell, Bode, C: Hawera (5))

 
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Round 6: FIJIan DRUA VS. canberra vikings

- Match preview

It’s first versus third this weekend at Churchill Park in Lautoka as the Canberra Vikings get set to take on the Fijian Drua in what could prove to be a pivotal weekend in the National Rugby Championships (NRC).

This is the Canberra club’s first visit to the island nation to take on the Drua in the NRC having hosted the free-running Pacific Islanders at Viking Park last season. The clash this Saturday afternoon though is likely to provide a much tougher examination of the Vikings title credentials than the 66-5 hammering they handed the visitors to the ACT in 2017.

On that occasion, a freezing cold evening in Canberra, the home side ran in ten tries in a demolition job on the Fijians who were, both literally and metaphorically, frozen under the floodlights.

With temperatures set to reach 30 degrees in Lautoka, and possible thunderstorms and rain predicted, the weather is likely to be very different and could end up having a bearing on the outcome.

The Fijians have a good home record this season, having won three from three, defeating Melbourne Rising, Brisbane City and NSW Country Eagles on their home soil, and racking up forty or more points in each match as well, but have had their colours lowered at home last season.

Both Queensland Country and Sydney Rays returned from visits to Fiji in 2017 with points in the bag and the Vikings, whose form has been good this season, will be gearing up to make sure that they become the third team from these shores to claim a victory. 

Currently the Fijians lead the way by a point from the Force with the Vikings a point further behind, but with the top two meeting each other in Perth next weekend, a Vikings victory could put them into the box seat heading onto the final rounds of fixtures. 

Head Coach Nick Scrivener has made three changes to the side that defeated Melbourne Rising 31-21 in Round 5, with Josh Mann-Rea and Rob Valetini back after injury and Jordan Jackson-Hope restored to the starting XV after missing the Rising match due to family commitments.

Vikings supporters can watch the match on Fox Sports On Demand Streaming Service from 1pm on Saturday afternoon.
 
Team List

1. Vunipola FIFITA
2. Josh MANN-REA
3. Tom ROSS
4. BJ EDWARDS
5. Darcy SWAIN
6. Rob VALETINI
7. Brodie LEBER
8. Ben HYNE
9. Joe POWELL
10. Wharenui HAWERA
11. Chance PENI
12. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE
13. Len IKITAU
14. Lausii TALIAULI
15. Andy MUIRHEAD

- Replacements

16. Connal MCINERNEY
17. George FRANCIS
18. Max BODE
19. Blake ENEVER
20. Mitch TYE
21. Ryan LONERGAN
22. Irae SIMONE
23. Mack HANSEN

Details

Fijian Dura vs Canberra Vikings
Sat 6 Oct 2018  /  Churchill Park, Fiji  /  1pm Kick Off

 

 
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Round 5: canberra vikings VS. melbourne Rising

- Match WRAP UP

A gritty and determined Canberra Vikings were forced to call upon all their reserves to see off Melbourne Rising and stay in contention for finals football after a 31-21 success at Viking Park on Saturday evening.

The home side came from 0-14 behind to claw their way back into the contest by the interval, going on to win in the second half with a concerted defensive effort and a ruthless edge in attack that yielded three further scores, including a brace for hooker Connal McInerney.

Even when the Vikings were reduced to thirteen men at one stage, McInerney and Lausii Taliauli sent to the naughty chair within minutes of each other midway through the second half, they dug deep, defended superbly and kept the Rising scoreless during a critical spell of the match.

The visitors, who featured former Brumbies Isi Naisarani from the start and Mees Erasmus from the replacements bench, had started energetically and crossed for the opening score through Anaru Rangi, the hooker touching down after seventeen phases of play. 

And when Sione Tuipoulotu went over inside the first half hour, both tries converted by flyhalf Archie King, the Vikings were already facing a mountain to climb. That they did so before the interval is a testament to the qualities of resoluteness and skill that the squad has in abundance.

Firstly, lock Darcy Swain bulldozed his way over from close range for his first try of the campaign, Wharenui Hawera converting, before the hosts were awarded a penalty try when the Rising collapsed a maul leading to Rangi spending time in the sin-bin. That locked the scores at 14-14 at the break.

Rising retook the lead in the second half when the Vikings were penalised for a deliberate knock-down, Taliauli seeing yellow, but they responded magnificently, and centre Len Ikitau took advantage of an error at the back to scoop up a loose ball and dive over in the corner. 

Hawera’s conversion hit the post but it mattered little as the Vikings took the match by the scruff of the neck with McInerney the beneficiary of two rolling mauls, dotting down at the back of a monumental effort from the pack, taking his try tally for the 2018 NRC to four. 

Following the other Round 5 results, the Vikings now find themselves third on the ladder, two points behind leaders Fijian Drua, whom they meet this weekend, and a point behind the Force.  

Statistics 

Vikings (14) 31 (T: Swain, Penalty Try, Ikitau, McInerney (2), C: Hawera, Lonergan)

Rising (14) 21 (T: Rangi, Tuipoulotu, Penalty Try, C: King (2)

 

 
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Round 5: canberra vikings VS. melbourne rising

- Match preview

Canberra Vikings Head Coach Nick Scrivener has made five changes for the clash with the Melbourne Rising at Viking Park on Saturday evening as the home side look for a fourth National Rugby Championship win of the season.
 
There’s a first start of the 2018 NRC for prop Vunipola Fifita in a front row that also includes Tom Ross and Connal McInerney from the team that defeated the NSW Country Eagles in Armidale last weekend.
 
Ross, who played eighty minutes in rural NSW, and McInerney are joined in the engine room by Fifita, the youngster rewarded for his excellent work off the bench in the opening four rounds of the campaign with a run-on debut.
 
Elsewhere, there are a pair of changes in the backrow with Rob Valetini and Michael Oakman-Hunt unavailable. BJ Edwards, who was outstanding off the replacements bench against the Eagles, and Brodie Leber, making his first start of the season, will pack down either side of skipper Ben Hyne.
 
The second-row combination of Blake Enever and Darcy Swain remains the same, two of five positions in the pack that are unaltered.
 
Behind the scrum there are two new faces in the starting line-up with Len Ikitau returning at centre, in the absence of Jordan Jackson-Hope who is unavailable for family reasons, prompting a shift inside to twelve for Irae Simone.
 
Chance Peni is recalled to the left-wing berth, Andy Muirhead dropping to fullback in place of Mack Hansen who is named amongst the substitutes, whilst top scorer Lausii Taliauli remains in situ on the right-wing. Joe Powell and Wharenui Hawera are the halves pairing once more.
 
Wests’ Mitch Tye and Liam Rasch come onto the bench and will be hoping to see some minutes at this level in what is, in the main, a youthful looking set of finishers. TP Luteru, who is recalled in place of Josh Mann-Rea who picked up a knock in training, Sione Taula and Max Bode are the front row cover with Ryan Lonergan, Noah Lolesio and Hansen covering the backs.
 
The match kicks off at 7pm on Saturday evening with entry free. The Brumbies U19 are in action earlier in the afternoon as part of the Rugby Australia U19 Championships being held at the same venue.
 
Team List

1. Vunipola FIFITA
2. Connal MCINERNEY
3. Tom ROSS
4. Blake ENEVER
5. Darcy SWAIN
6. BJ EDWARDS
7. Brodie LEBER
8. Ben HYNE
9. Joe POWELL
10. Wharenui HAWERA
11. Chance PENI
12. Irae SIMONE
13. Len IKITAU
14. Lausii TALIAULI
15. Andy MUIRHEAD

- Replacements

16. TP LUTERU
17. Sione TAULA
18. Max BODE
19. Liam RASCH
20. Mitch TYE
21. Ryan LONERGAN
22. Noah LOLESIO
23. Mack HANSEN

Details

Canberra Vikings vs Melbourne Rising
Sat 29 Sept 2018  /  Viking Park  /  7pm Kick Off
- FREE ENTRY -

 

 
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Round 4: NSW COUNTRY EAGLES VS. CANBERRA VIKINGS

- Match WRAP UP

Sometimes it’s not about the journey, it’s about the result; the Canberra Vikings dug in against the Eagles to steal victory from the clutches of defeat, 24-17 in Armidale.

A standout performer in the first three rounds, Jordan Jackson-Hope had the honour of scooting over after the final-hooter to rescue the win for the Vikings, after Wharenui Hawera had tied proceedings with less than a minute to play.

Jackson-Hope’s winner was the final-piece of an epic second-half rally against NSW Country which saw Rob Valetini and Lausii Taliauli also get on the score sheet. The Eagles were superb from the off at Bellevue Oval, even though it was their third game in eight days.

It took the Eagles 13 minutes to get off the mark, though it could have been sooner. Camped on the Vikings line, the packs faced off for four minutes, packing scrum after scrum with the Eagles dominant at every exchange. Penalties followed, and after the fourth referee Damon Murphy was forced to send Sione Taula to the bin.

Vunipola Fifita tried his best to prop up the scrum but eventually, the pressure tolled, Murphy jogging from the right-hand touchline under the posts to grant the home-side an automatic seven points.

The Vikings managed to fix the set-piece, but just weren’t clicking on the road. It didn’t help that the opposition was playing their best footy of the season either and in the 35th minute, the underdog Eagles doubled their account. 

Moving to the same corner as the set of scrums before, flyhalf Mack Mason floated a nice pass to Alex Newsome, and the ‘Tahs fullback glided in for the try. Mason converted leaving the score at 14-0 which it remained as the whistle blew for half-time.

The Vikings came out firing in the second period, and though it took 12 minutes, they were finally able to open their account. Pummelling the line, the Vikings turned to Rob Valetini to provide the finish, and the powerhouse youngster didn’t disappoint, carrying five Eagles defenders with him over the line. Hawera added the extras and the Eagles were back in the game.

Eight minutes later, the Vikings scored the try of the game. The Vikings scrum, now in the ascendency, gave the backs good platform inside their half. Attacking down the short-side, Ben Hyne went eight-nine with Ryan Lonergan who bumped the ball behind Irae Simone to Hawera. The Brumbies flyhalf pumped once then popped inside to Mack Hansen, the Junior Wallabies fullback flying into space and breaking in behind the Eagles defensive-line.

Hansen then found Taliauli, and the rangy-wing continued his scoring streak, racing away untouched from forty metres out to score in the same corner as Newsome had before. Hawera’s conversion was good, levelling the score at 14-14.

Vikings couldn’t execute the exit properly of the kick-off however, and the Eagles earned a penalty three minutes later, which Mason converted into three-points off the tee. 17-14 to the home side, with a quarter-hour to play. 

That’s how the score stayed until the 79th minute. Summoning everything they had, the Vikings managed to get a foothold in the Eagles half, thanks to a blistering break from Andy Muirhead.

Wanting to make sure of some match-points and knowing his side could score from anywhere, Hyne elected to go for the sticks with merely seconds left on the clock. Hawera made sure of it, and the Vikings were level, though they now had victory in their sights.

The Eagles then gave Canberra a massive lift, gifting the Vikings a penalty on the 40m line. Simone, having struggled from the boot at times, produced a pearler of a kick, pumping the ball down to the Eagles 22m line.

Sustained pressure was the strategy, the Vikings now looking more like the side which beat the force and hammered the Rays. Eventually, the Eagles numbers ran out and as the Vikings moved to strike the killer blow, Jackson-Hope held the ball in two hands, showed to pass but held on and stepped his way over the line.

Relief for Vikings players and fans alike, a crucial win away from home secured from a seemingly unwinnable position. That’s now three on the bounce for Canberra, and with Queensland Country and Fiji Drua both losing, attention turns to the Melbourne Rising at Viking Park on Saturday night, a top-two finish now firmly in the Vikings grip.  

Statistics 

NSW Country Eagles 17 (14)

Canberra Vikings 24 (0) – (T: Valetini, Taliauli, Jackson-Hope, C: Hawera (3), P: Hawera)

Photo credit: AJF Photography

 

 
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Round 4: NSW COUNTRY EAGLES VS. Canberra vikings

- Match preview

Canberra Vikings Head Coach Nick Scrivener has made five changes for the visit to UNE Bellevue Oval, Armidale, to tackle the New South Wales Country Eagles this Sunday afternoon.
 
The selection of Wallaby scrum-half Joe Powell headlines the changes with the four-times capped international who came off the bench during the 29-19 win over Western Force, switching places with Ryan Lonergan for the NRC Round 4 clash.
 
There are two further changes in the backline as the free-running Mack Hansen gains his first start of the season, having been a replacement in Rounds 2 and 3, coming in for Tom Banks, whilst there’s also a maiden start for Irae Simone who has been on the bench in the opening three matches.
 
Up front, Scrivener brings in young Tom Ross for the injured Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, his run-on debut, with Rob Valetini selected at flanker in place of BJ Edwards, the latter reverting to a strong-looking bench.
 
Onto that replacements bench are Noah Lolesio, in line for a Vikings NRC debut, and young prop Max Bode, the Uni-Norths Owls front rower having played half-a-dozen matches in Vikings colours during the 2017 march to the Grand Final.
 
Ross joins Connal McInerney and Sione Taula in a powerful looking front three with locks Darcy Swain and Blake Enever reacquainting themselves in the second row after their excellent performance in tandem in the defeat of the Force.
 
Ben Hyne will, once more, captain the side from number eight with Michael Oakman-Hunt and Valetini on the flanks providing power, mobility and speed in a backrow that will look to rampage in the loose against their Country counterparts.
 
Behind the pack, Powell forms an all Plus500 Brumbies halfback partnership with top points scorer Wharenui Hawera with the in-form Jordan Jackson-Hope inside Simone a centre. Out wide five-try Andrew Muirhead and three-try Lausii Taliauli provide the finishing ability with Hansen likely to offer pace and a try-scoring threat from fullback.
 
Alongside the newcomers Bode and Lolesio on the bench are the three players replaced in the starting XV plus the experienced Josh Mann-Rea, who made a welcome return to rugby last weekend, and promising prop Vunipola Fifita.
 
Team List

1. Sione TAULA
2. Connal MCINERNEY
3. Tom ROSS
4. Blake ENEVER
5. Darcy SWAIN
6. Rob VALETINI
7. Michael OAKMAN-HUNT
8. Ben HYNE
9. Joe POWELL
10. Wharenui HAWERA
11. Andy MUIRHEAD
12. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE
13. Irae SIMONE
14. Lausii TALIAULI
15. Mack HANSEN

- Replacements

16. Josh MANN-REA
17. Vunipola FIFITA
18. Max BODE
19. BJ EDWARDS
20. Brodie LEBER
21. Ryan LONERGAN
22. Noah LOLESIO
21. Len IKITAU

Details

NSW Country Eagles vs Canberra Vikings
Sun 23 Sept 2018  /  UNE Bellevue Oval, Armidale  /  1pm Kick Off
LIVE ON FOX SPORTS ON DEMAND -

 

 
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Round 3: canberra vikings VS. western force

- Match WRAP UP

Fortune favours the brave and after a stout defensive shift the Canberra Vikings have beaten the Western Force, 29-19 in their crucial round three matchup at Viking Park.

Canberra, despite being in a dog-fight up front for the 80 minutes, showed some real quality in attack when they got clean ball, were able to score four fabulous tries, claiming a well-deserved victory. 

The visitors looked to control proceedings early, but it was the Vikings who struck first. Tom Banks, not long back in Canberra having been with the Wallabies on the Gold Coast the night before, made the initial break, scything through the middle of the Force defence.

The ball swung to the left, putting Lausii Taliauli in enough space to release Andy Muirhead down the left flank and the Brumbies wing provided the finish, beating two Force players before ducking under for the try. Wharenui Hawera added the extras to give the Vikings an early 7-0 lead.

Canberra had the advantage on the scoreboard, but the visitors had the wind on their side and used it to full effect in the next phase of the game, pinning the Vikings inside their own half.

That territorial-pressure allowed the Force’s fierce set-piece to come into play. Camped on the Vikings line, Canberra then lost Les Leuluailalii Makin to injury, making the task of keeping the scrum up that much harder.

Replacement tighthead Tom Ross did admirably, propping up the set-piece for the Vikings but eventually the try came, and through a familiar face, former Brumbies flanker Chris Alcock powering over for the leveller. Fellow former Brumby Ian Prior popped the conversion over from in front of the posts, tying up the game at seven a piece.

Vikings responded almost immediately, Jordan Jackson-Hope scoring the home sides second of the day in the 25th minute. Jackson-Hope sliced through the line on grandstand side before chipping the ball over Force fullback Jack McGregor.

The Brumbies centre showed some toe to win the race to the footy, gathered superbly and diving over in the same spot as Muirhead had earlier. Hawera repeated his effort as well, splitting the posts to restore the Vikings seven-point advantage.

The Force continued to dominate the field-position, but it was Vikings who were playing the smarter rugby. Whenever Canberra could attack, they looked dangerous and returned with points from every foray into the Force’s half.

Dazzling interplay from the Vikings locks, Blake Enever and Darcy Swain forced a penalty from the visitors, and Hawera knocked over the three-pointer to push the Vikings lead to more than a converted try. 

Playing against the wind, the Vikings would have been content going into the break 10-points to the good. The Force pounced late in the half however, their strong forward pack pushing them into the Vikings 22. The Vikings number eventually ran out, allowing Henry Taefu to slip through for Perth’s second of the afternoon. Prior swiped the conversion over with ease, the score now 17-14.

The Force’s quality and cohesion started to show, and with two minutes to play in the first, the Force launched an attempt at the Vikings line. Rod Davies broke the line and his perfectly-weighted kick meant Taliauli had to take the ball over his own line.

As the hooter sounded for the end of the first-half, the Force finally capitalised on their set-piece superiority, Brynard Stanard able to fall over the line from the ensuing scrum to grant the visitors their first lead of the game, though Prior couldn’t find the range from the tee. 

Down by two, the Vikings headed into the sheds knowing their attack was humming, and the wind would be behind their backs for the rest of the game. With that confidence, the Vikings shot out of the blocks in the second-period.

Much like the Force in the first period, field position didn’t yield points for the Vikings and the visitors managed to clear their lines.

A sustained period of pressure followed for the Force, their forward pack proving to be a match for the Vikings group. Stellar reinforcements in Josh Mann-Rea, Joe Powell and Rob Valetini joined the fray, but the Force remained in the ascendency.  

With the Force having a scrum on the Vikings 5m, a third try seemed imminent. However, with the introduction of Mann-Rea and young bookend Vunipola Fifita, the Vikings scrum troubles reversed, and the home side escaped from their red-zone. 

Having survived the onslaught, the Vikings went on the attack. The Force could do nothing as Canberra rolled up the pitch. Strong carries from Enever and Fifita gave Powell quick pill.

Hawera and Banks combined brilliantly and leaving Muirhead with enough space to dive over in the left corner, putting the Vikings back in the lead. Hawera’s conversion sailed wide, but the Brumbies flyhalf would have his opportunity to add to the Vikings lead minutes later.

With the Vikings set-piece issues now well and truly solved, the Canberra backline could now operate with more freedom. Hawera, with some time to use his dancing feet, measured up his opposite number Andrew Deegan, stepped by him before rounding McGregor for the Vikings fourth try. Hawera added two to his own five, Canberra now up 29-19 with 10 to play.

The visitors were by no means out of it however and forced their way into the Vikings 22. The Perth side were all but over the line, but Powell had other ideas, dragging down McGregor and the Force fullback knocked it on.

That was the Force’s final shot at a comeback, though the visitors attacked until the very end. The Vikings held them out and held on for a well-deserved 29-19 victory. 

The Vikings will be back in action away to the NSW Country Eagles on the 23 September before their final home fixture versus the Melbourne Rising, 29 September.  

Statistics 

Canberra Vikings 29 (17) – (T:Muirhead 2, Jackson-Hope, Hawera C: Hawera 3 P: Hawera)

Western Force 19 (19) – (T: Alcock, Taefu, Stanard C: Prior)

 

 

Round 3: canberra vikings VS. western force

- Match preview

Canberra Vikings Head Coach Nick Scrivener has made one change for the visit of Western Force to Viking Park on Sunday placing faith in the team that swamped Sydney Rays 54-17 at Concord Oval in Sydney in Round 2.
 
The only change is an enforced one as Mack Hansen is drafted into the team at fullback with Andrew Muirhead switched to the left wing in place of the unavailable Chance Peni. Other than that, the starting XV remains unchanged.
 
Scrivener is able to welcome back some familiar faces on the replacements bench as Plus500 Brumbies Josh Mann-Rea and Rob Valetini are both sufficiently recovered to provide cover as substitutes.
 
Mann-Rea hasn’t played a minute of rugby since suffering a hamstring injury in early March and will bring an experienced head to the team’s finishers with two-try Connal McInerney given the nod to start at hooker.
 
Valetini meanwhile comes into the matchday twenty-three for Canberra Royals flanker Luke Kimber and is another champing at the bit to get back into action after a lengthy lay-off following an injury in Super Rugby.
 
There are two further additions to the bench with Argentinean-born scrumhalf, and Royals legend, Pedro Rolando available for selection, he replaces Easts’ Jacob Abel, whilst Noah Lolesio, named as man of the match in the Griffin Legal John I Dent Cup Final, provides backline cover.
 
The Force, led by former Vikings Head Coach Tim Sampson, have looked in sparking form in the opening weeks of the season having come off the back of their lengthy preparation in World Series Rugby and should provide a cracking test for Scrivener’s young charges.

Admission to the match is free and with a jumping castle, DJ, kids entertainment, playgrounds and food stalls is the ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon with the family so get on down to Viking Park for some top-class NRC rugby and family entertainment this weekend.
 
Team List

1. Sione TAULA
2. Connal MCINERNEY
3. Leslie LEULUAIALII-MAKIN
4. Blake ENEVER
5. Darcy SWAIN
6. BJ EDWARDS
7. Michael OAKMAN-HUNT
8. Ben HYNE
9. Ryan LONERGAN
10. Wharenui HAWERA
11. Andy MUIRHEAD
12. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE
13. Len IKITAU
14. Lausii TALIAULI
15. Tom BANKS

- Replacements

16. Josh MANN-REA
17. Vunipola FIFITA
18. Tom ROSS
19. Rob VALETINI
20. Brodie LEBER
21. Joe POWELL
22. Irae SIMONE
23. Mack HANSEN

Details

Canberra Vikings vs Western Force
Sun 16 Sept 2018  /  Viking Park  /  3pm Kick Off
- FREE ENTRY -

 

 
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Round 2: Sydney Rays vs. Canberra vikings

- Match WRAP UP

Lausii Taliauli and the Canberra Vikings are sliding into next week after notching their first win of the 2018 NRC season in dominant fashion against the Sydney Rays, 54-17. Taliauli’s second try of the say stole the online headlines but it was an all-around team-effort, with Connal McInerney also bagging a brace inside ten minutes.

Indeed, it took the Vikings and McInerney just 85 second to open the scoring. The Brumbies hooker reaped the benefits of a powerful Vikings maul which has already impressed this season, diving over for his first try of the season. Hawera converted and five minutes later, the effort was repeated. A strong set-piece, a double for McInerney and Hawera added the extras, the Vikings now 14 to the good. 

That set the tone for the Vikings, though it would take ten minutes for a third to come. It was Taliauli who had the honour. The towering-wing ran on to a perfectly weighted grubber from Andy Muirhead and made no mistake with the finish, leaping over the line in the right-hand corner. Hawera’s touchline conversion split the posts and the Vikings were starting to pull away.

Sydney nabbed a lifeline in the 18th minute when Latu Latunipulu raced over for a well worked try, converted beautifully by Will Harrison. The ray of sunshine for the Sydneysiders didn’t last long.   The Vikings regained their three-try cushion in the 32nd minute when a juggernaut Canberra scrum gave referee Damon Murphy no option but to award the visitors a penalty try. The automatic seven-pointer meant the score was now 28-7 and that’s how it remained at the break. 

After the interval, the Vikings came out swinging, looking to kill-off the contest early in the second. After a brief stay of destruction, the Vikings turned up the heat and it was halfback Ryan Lonergan who got the score, ducking over from close-range to dot down. 

With a bonus-point secured as it stood, the Canberra side pushed to consolidate their advantage and they did in the 52nd minute. Two of the Brumbies best young-talents, Len Ikitau and Mack Hansen combined in close quarters with the former able to walk in for the Vikings sixth of the day.  Hawera, as he had done all day, turned five into seven from the sideline.

Vikings try for the half-zone was pretty, but the seventh was stunning. Who doesn’t like an off the training ground move that leads to a try? Vikings got clean ball off a lineout on the Rays 22m, allowing Lonergan to find Hawera on the front-foot. The dazzling flyhalf pumped the ball once, shaping to pop to Brumbies recruit Irae Simone. Instead, Hawera dummied Simone, releasing Taliauli into a gaping hole.  Taliauli raced away untouched, sliding in and pointing to the Fox Sport camera. A touch of charm and swagger from one of the Vikings rising talents.

The result in the bag, the Vikings let off the gas in the coming minutes allowing Sydney to snag a couple well-deserved consolations tries, but it was Vikings day in the end.

Jordan Jackson-Hope brought up the visitor’s half-century in the 80th minute, showing some toe to slide over in the corner.

Coming off the loss to Queensland Country, it was important for the Vikings to make a statement against the Rays and they did just that. Dominant on their way to a 54-17 triumph away from home.  The Vikings are back in Canberra this Sunday, taking on the highly-touted Western Force at Viking Park. Kick-off is at 3pm and entry if free for all.

Statistics

Sydney Rays (7) 17 (T: L. Latunipulu, N. Duffy, H. Burey, C: W. Harrison)
Canberra Vikings (28) 54 (T: C. McInerney (2), L. Taliauli (2), Penalty Try, R. Lonergan, M. Hansen, J. Jackson-Hope, C: W, Hawera (6))

 

 
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Round 2: sydney Rays VS. Canberra vikings

- Match preview

Canberra Vikings Head Coach Nick Scrivener has rung the changes for the National Rugby Championship Round 2 match against Sydney Rays at Concord Oval with the unavailability of his Wallabies players meaning the team has a different look to the opening round selection.
 
There are five changes to the starting XV that narrowly lost to Queensland Country in the season opener at Viking Park as Connal McInerney, BJ Edwards, Michael Oakman-Hunt, Ryan Lonergan and Chance Peni are all selected to start.
 
McInerney comes in for hat-trick hero Folau Fainga’a with the Plus500 Brumbies rake lining up alongside Sione Taula and Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin in a powerful front row, which is locked by Darcy Swain and Blake Enever, the latter shifting from flanker.
 
Gungahlin Eagles’ second row BJ Edwards will start in that flanker role in a back row that sees Oakman-Hunt and captain Ben Hyne providing the physicality and ball-carrying that will be essential in order to get the front-foot momentum that will be crucial in upsetting the Rays on their own turf.
 
Junior Wallabies Captain Ryan Lonergan makes a first start of the season at scrum half, in tandem with pivot Wharenui Hawera, with the centre pairing of Jordan Jackson-Hope and Len Ikitau, which caused issues for Country throughout the eighty minutes, remaining the same.
 
Chance Peni is given an opportunity in the back three, slotting into the left-wing position which precipitates a move to fullback for Andy Muirhead who, alongside right-wing Lausii Taliauli, found the try-line in Round 1.
 
The impressive Luke Kimber, who was excellent on his debut at this level against Queensland Country, reverts to the replacements bench, his ability to cover the backrow seeing him picked once more, alongside Brodie Leber who also made his Vikings bow seven days ago.
 
Tom Ross and Vunipola Fifita provide the front row cover alongside replacement hooker TP Luteru, the latter brought in for the first time in 2018. Amongst the backs replacements, there is an opportunity for a first cap for Easts’ scrumhalf Jacob Abel, whilst Irae Simone and Mack Hansen offer reliable quality outside the halfback roles.
 
Vikings fans unable to travel to Sydney to cheer on their team can tune into Fox Sports On Demand Service to see the match live, kick-off at Concord Oval is at 3pm.
 
Team List

1. Sione TAULA
2. Connal MCINERNEY
3. Leslie LEULUAIALII-MAKIN
4. Blake ENEVER
5. Darcy SWAIN
6. BJ EDWARDS
7. Michael OAKMAN-HUNT
8. Ben HYNE
9. Ryan LONERGAN
10. Wharenui HAWERA
11. Chance PENI
12. Jordan JACKSON-HOPE
13. Len IKITAU
14. Lausii TALIAULI
15. Andy MUIRHEAD

- Replacements

16. TP LUTERU
17. Vunipola FIFITA
18. Tom ROSS
19. Luke KIMBER
20. Brodie LEBER
21. Jacob ABEL
22. Irae SIMONE
23. Mack HANSEN

Details

Sydney Rays vs Canberra Vikings
Sat 8 Sept 2018  /  Concord Oval  /  3pm Kick Off
LIVE ON FOX SPORTS ON DEMAND -

 

 
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Round 1: Canberra vikings vs. queensland country

- Match WRAP UP

The Canberra Vikings have been defeated by Queensland Country in their opening game of the 2018 National Rugby Championship [NRC] opener, 45-35.

Folau Fainga’s hat-trick plus two cracking five-pointers from Lausii Taliauli and Andrew Muirhead weren’t enough on the night, but the potential shown by this exciting Canberra outfit should leave Vikings supporters hopeful for the fixtures to come.

It was the defending Champions who drew first blood six minutes in. After some sustained pressure, Queensland rake Alex Casey was able to sneak in from close range, with young halfback James Tuttle adding the extras.

The visitors doubled their tally seven minutes later, Duncan Paia’aua guiding Jock Campbell over the line with a perfect kick-pass on the right flank. Tuttle couldn’t find the range with his second effort, the score now 12-0 to Queensland Country.

Vikings responded immediately. Folau Fainga’a made the initial break, carrying three County players with him across the gain line.

Moments later, after the Vikings went to the corner off a penalty, Fainga’a steered a powerful Vikings across the whitewash and dived over for their opening score of the 2018 season. Wharenui Hawera slotted home from out wide, Canberra back in the contest, 12-7.

Vikings wereonly growing in confidence, with the likes of Tom Banks and Rory Arnold’s influence starting to have a real impact on the game.

Five minutes later, the home side took the lead. Off a steady set-piece on the right hand side, Vikings wing Lausii Taliauli loomed behind the backline and proved impossible to stop as he joined the line, busted through two tackles and dived over for Canberra’s second of the day. Hawera converted, putting the Vikings in the ascendency, 14-12.

The home side pushed forward, hoping to add another score before halftime. There was another try, but it went to Queensland Country.

Campbell shot out of the line and picked off Hawera’s pass, racing away from 80 out to score his second of the night. Tuttle converted from in front of the sticks, Queensland wrestling back the lead, 19-14.

Then, as the hooter sounded for the end of the first half, Queensland struck again, Casey bagging his try-double from similar range to his first effort. Tuttle’s conversion attempt sailed wide, leaving the score 24-14 to the visitors at half-time.

Vikings came out firing after the interval, Hawera making a scything break into the visitors territory. It would be his final action of the night, replaced by Brumbies recruit Irae Simone, with Jordan Jackson-Hope moving into flyhalf.

It didn’t take long for the new 10,12 combo to fire with Simone and Hope combining to release Andy Muirhead into space. Hope’s inside ball was fabulous, copping a huge hit in the process.

Muirhead made no mistake once he had the opportunity, the Brumbies wing sprinting home from 35 metres out. Hope took the kicking duties and made no mistake with the conversion, the Viking back to within one score.

Queensland retaliated quickly however, Reds lock Angus Blyth powering over from not far out. Tuttle’s kick was good, re-establishing Queensland’s 10-point advantage.

Vikings defensive effort was clear to see, and time and again they knocked back Queensland’s attacks but eventually, Caleb Timu bowled over for the visitor’s sixth score of the night, replay showing the Wallabies Number 8 just got the ball down. Tuttle’s added another two to Country’s advantage, the score now 38-21.

With time dwindling, Vikings needed to score soon to have any chance of coming back. Fainga’a sensed the same and the 2018 Brumbies rookie of the year took it upon himself toget Vikings back in the game, beating three or four players before sliding in for the try. Jackson-Hope drop-kicked the extras, the Vikings now in with a chance at 38-28, with 15 to play.

In front of a rapt home crowd, the Vikings built towards an epic comeback. Behind another well-orchestrated maul, Fainga’a completed his hat-trick, the noise inside Viking Park now deafening. Jackson-Hope’s successful kick meant the Vikings were now just three points behind, 38-35.

The fightback perhaps took to much out of the home side, five minutes from time Queensland Country restored the gap, Roberts Puliuvea scoring the try, which was converted, that sunk hopes of an opening round Vikings victory.

The score 45-35 and that’s how it finished, the defending champions showing their quality. The Vikings will take plenty out of the game however, given that this Queensland team is likely to be one of the contenders in 2018.

The Vikings are back in action next Saturday, taking on the Sydney Rays in Round 2 before their next home fixture against the Force on Sunday, 16 September. 

Statistics

Canberra Vikings (14)  (T: Fainga’a (3), Taliauli, Muirhead C: Hawera (2), Jackson-Hope (3))
Queensland Country (24)  (T: Casey (2), Campbell (2), Blyth, TImu, Puli’Uvea C: Tuttle (3), Stewart (2))

 

 
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Round 1: Canberra vikings vs. queensland country

- Match preview

Canberra Vikings kick-off their National Rugby Championship season this Saturday evening when they welcome Queensland Country back to Viking Park in a repeat of the culmination of the 2017 edition of the competition.

On that occasion Country took the honours, and with it the Grand Final silverware, in a game that the Vikings will feel they could, and perhaps should, have won. Not that there will be any feeling of regret or revenge on the minds of the new group of Vikings who take to the paddock this weekend.

This group, now under the tutelage of former Wallabies Assistant Coach Nick Scrivener, are forming a bond that could prove crucial in the short, seven-game, season that comprises the NRC. Getting off to a flier, and maintaining that form, is therefore paramount.

Scrivener has selected a solid looking team for the maiden hit-out of the new campaign with plenty of exciting young talent ready to implement the famous Vikings running style, a traditional fast-paced game which inevitably yields tries – and plenty of them.
Country aren’t the title holders for nothing however, and they will travel to Canberra in a confident mood that they can pick up where they left off at the very venue last November.

They rose from the depths of eighth on the ladder in 2016 to finish behind the Vikings on the 2017 Final table and these two outfits were clearly the best in competition. It was a meteoric change for the Queenslanders who had been rooted near the foot of the competition since its inception in 2014.

Their latest squad is again replete with players from the Reds Super Rugby franchise and they are tipped by many to be a strong contender for back-to-back crowns should they rediscover the kind of form that led them to six wins from eight matches in their regular season schedule.

The Vikings will, of course, have lots to say about that and will be looking towards a bumper Viking Park crowd to cheer them on the way. With free admission to every Vikings home match in 2018 there is ample opportunity to bring the family and enjoy the spectacle that only the NRC can provide.

Team List

1. Sione Taula
2. Folau Fainga’a
3. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin
4. Rory Arnold
5. Darcy Swain
6. Blake Enever
7. Luke Kimber
8. Ben Hyne (c)
9. Joe Powell
10. Wharenui Hawera
11. Lausii Taliauli
12. Jordan Jackson-Hope
13. Len Ikitau
14. Andy Muirhead
15. Tom Banks

- Replacements

16. Connal McInerney
17. Vunipola Fifita
18. Tom Ross
19. BJ Edwards
20. Brodie Leber
21. Ryan Lonergan
22. Irae Simone
23. Chance Peni

Details

Canberra Vikings vs Queensland Country
Sat 1 Sept 2018  /  Viking Park  /  5pm Kick Off
FREE ENTRY -

 

 
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FRee Entry to ALL Canberra Vikings HOME GAMES

Rugby supporters in Canberra will be able to get their fix in forthcoming months for nothing with news that entry into Canberra Vikings three home matches in the 2018 National Rugby Championship [NRC] will be free.
 
The decision means that the rugby community will be able to attend the trio of home matches scheduled for September for nothing, taking in what should be some exciting, fast-paced and exhilarating rugby with the NRC renowned for being full of outrageous moves and bags of tries.
 
“It is important to us that the local rugby community has access to a quality competition and by allowing all spectators free entry in 2018 we hope that we can also play our part in growing the game,” Vikings Group CEO Anthony Hill commented.
 
“By not charging at the gate, we can instead hopefully gather some donations and raise much needed funds to go towards worthy causes like the current drought relief campaign and Vikings Group Charity of the Year Marymead, who we aim to raise $100,000 for this financial year.”
 
Vikings will welcome Queensland Country in a rematch of the 2017 NRC Grand Final to kick-off their home fixture in 2018, the game kicking-off at 5pm on Saturday 1 September.
 
The revitalised Western Force are the next opponents, providing the opposition at a family friendly time of 1pm on Sunday 16 September with the home matches complete, barring finals involvement, on Saturday 19 September when Melbourne Rising are the visitors to Viking Park for a 7pm kick-off.
 
“The 2018 NRC promises to be the most competitive season yet and to be successful in any competition, you need good performances at home,” Head Coach Nick Scrivener commented.
 
“The Canberra Vikings home games this year will be particularly challenging, with the reigning premiers Queensland Country first up, followed by a full time Western Force team coming off the back of a number of games in World Series rugby and lastly a Melbourne Rising team which will be significantly stronger than in previous years.
 
“However, with challenge comes opportunity and we look forward to a strong and very vocal Canberra rugby community coming down to Viking Park and getting behind our team in these three crucial games.”
 
The Canberra Vikings recently unveiled their squad for the NRC which features a core group of Plus500 Brumbies Super Rugby players, some excellent local talent from the Griffin Legal John I Dent Cup and a swathe of young guns ready to make their mark at that level.

 

 
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Canberra Vikings Announce 2018 Squad

Canberra Vikings are pleased to announce their squad for the 2018 National Rugby Championship which will be led by Ben Hyne, who has been appointed captain for the latest iteration of the series.
 
Head Coach Nick Scrivener has selected a solid looking squad to tackle the seven-round competition as the Vikings look to reach the Finals once more and go one better than the 2017 season, which saw them lose out at the final hurdle, beaten by Queensland Country in the Grand Final at Viking Park.
 
The team has a strong representation from the local Griffin Legal John I Dent Cup competition alongside the core group of Plus500 Brumbies players including Wallabies international lock Blake Enever, hooker Josh Mann-Rea, lock Rory Arnold as well as Tom Banks and Folau Fainga’a, both of whom are edging nearer to full international honours.
 
Of those not capped at Super Rugby level, Canberra Royals scrumhalf, Argentinean -born Pedro Rolando, was the leading scorer in the Griffin Legal John I Dent Cup First Grade in 2018, whilst there is plenty of young emerging talent throughout what is a well-balanced, hungry and enthusiastic group.
 
“I am very pleased with the squad that we have out together to challenge for the NRC title this year,” Head Coach Nick Scrivener, who has been appointed to lead the team in 2018, commented.
 
“I believe it is an excellent blend of youth and experience and has the potential to play a fast-paced, running game as well as being physical at the set-piece and difficult to contain.  It’s great to see so many young players included who will no doubt use the NRC as a stepping stone in their careers.”
 
Ben Hyne has been given the responsibility of the captain’s armband, the bullocking backrower or lock having recovered from an injury that sidelined him for the duration of the 2018 Super Rugby season and is champing at the bit to get regular game-time under his belt.
 
“Ben Hyne is an extremely talented footballer and will no doubt lead by example both on and off the field,” Scrivener said of his appointment of Hyne to lead the troops. “Ben is well respected amongst the playing group and has all the attributes that you could want in a leader.
 
“I am expecting this season to be a tough test for the players, there are no easy matches in this competition and the schedule is such that any slip-up could be detrimental to playing finals football. With one week’s preparation leading into the first round it is vital we get the players aligned with how we want to play as quickly as possible and focussed on our first home game against Queensland Country”.
 
Tom Cusack, Vikings captain in 2017, will not take part in the NRC this season after a long and tiring Super Rugby campaign, being ruled out by Brumbies to recondition after a rigorous two consecutive seasons of Rugby. Lachlan McCaffrey will also be rested to recondition and prepare for Super Rugby in 2019.
 
The Vikings begin their 2018 NRC campaign with the Grand Final rematch against Queensland Country at Viking Park on Saturday 1 September with kick-off at 5pm. Entry to this, and all Canberra Vikings home matches in the 2018 season, is free.
 

2018 Canberra Vikings Squad
 

Jacob Abel   Eastern Suburbs 
Rory Arnold   Gungahlin Eagles 
Tom Banks   Uni-Norths Owls 
Max Bode    Uni-Norths Owls 
BJ Edwards   Gunghalin Eagles 
Blake Enever   Eastern Suburbs  
Folou Fainga'a   Western Districts Lions
Vunipola Fifita   West Harbour, NSW
Seth Going   Canberra Royals
Mack Hansen   Gungahlin Eagles 
Wharenui Hawera   Gungahlin Eagles 
Ben Hyne (Captain)   Tuggeranong Vikings 
Len Ikitau   Tuggeranong Vikings
Jordan Jackson-Hope   Tuggeranong Vikings 
Luke Kimber   Canberra Royals 
Brodie Leber   Western Districts Lions 
Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin   Queanbeyan Whites
Noah Lolesio   Tuggeranong Vikings
Ryan Lonergan   Tuggeranong Vikings
Josh Mann-Rea   Gungahlin Eagles 
Connal McInerney   Easts, Sydney / Canberra Royals
Andy Muirhead   Canberra Royals 
Michael Oakman-Hunt   Tuggeranong Vikings
Chance Peni   Western Districts Lions 
Pedro Rolando   Canberra Royals 
Tom Ross   Gungahlin Eagles 
Irae Simone   Norths Sydney, NSW / TBC 
Darcy Swain   Tuggeranong Vikings 
Lausii Taliauli   Canberra Royals
Sione Taula   Tuggeranong Vikings
Mitch Tye   Western Districts Lions
Rob Valetini   Western Districts Lions

 

 
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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.