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Round 1, Game 4 of the 2018 National Rugby Championship: Sydney Rays v NSW Country Eagles at Leichardt Oval

NSW Country Eagles got off to a great start where Jake Gordon quickly steered off from the scrum to the first five points.

Fantastic line break where Gordon inside the Rays defense through the gap for his first try from Scrum-Half.

It’s a blow to the Sydney Rays going 14 men after Cameron Betham collapsed the front row.

In the 18th minute, Sydney Country Rays found a way to score TRY No.2.

Alex Gibbon ran past halfway through a one v three attack before finding Tom Robertson and then Alex Newsome for the run home.

Two minutes later Curtis Rona struck back with a much-needed try for the Sydney Rays.

Great run from Harry Burey going straight down before he’s able to find Rona and help complete the Rays’ first five-point score.

With 5 minutes to go, Tolu Latu quickly played out and ran up himself beating a dummy for the Country’s third try.

Latu found an excellent opportunity to use his instincts before running against Rob Simmons & Will Harrison.

With Simmons & Harrison unsuccessful in nailing Latu down, that try looked easy for Country.

Although, the Rays added the second late try in the 36th minute.

The contribution of Shambeckler Vui with the five-point grab helped the Rays keep their hopes alive.

Mack Mason converted three kicks successfully between the sticks for the Country Eagles.

For the Rays, Will Harrison only converted one out of two kicks in the 37th minute.

HALF-TIME: Sydney Rays 12-21 NSW Country Eagles

2nd Half

Shambeckler Vui was only inches away from touching down for the Rays having crashed down a few dummies.

But the robust Country Eagles defense saved themselves with the turnover after they denied Vui the Rays TRY.

Mack Mason tried to find his troops to pass for his Country Eagles.

Hugh Sinclair tackles Mason down going too flat before Rays won the penalty because Tom Robertson ran offside.

With neither of the teams scored by the 60th minute, it’s the Sydney Rays defense that stepped up this time.

But the lead still belongs to the Country Eagles by nine points and extends by a further seven.

Jake Gordon quickly tapped and ran with the scrum staying square before finding a gap & touched down for the TRY.

And to make things hard for the Rays, Mack Mason successfully kicked inside the posts.

With the Rays scrum failing to stay square, Country Eagles won the turnover by forcing the collapse.

They have not have gone in for the first time of asking.

But Jake Gordon tapped & played on having sneaked past the Rays line on the far left for his third try.

Hugh Sinclair at last found a lovely line towards the far left line by holding his depth on the run home for the Rays.

Harry Burey added the extra two points by pushing the Sydney Rays to 19.

That consolation try has denied NSW Country Rays the bonus point.

But they’ll be more than happy to take it with the win as Referee Angus Gardner calls it full-time at Leichhardt Oval.

FULL-TIME: Sydney Rays 19-33 NSW Country Rays

Sydney Rays


  • Curtis Rona, 20′
  • Shambeckler Vui, 36′
  • Hugh Sinclair, 76′


  • Will Harrison, 1/2, 37′
  • Harry Burey, 1/1, 77′

NSW Country Eagles


  • Jake Gordon, 11′, 63′, 71′
  • Alex Newsome, 18′
  • Tolu Latu, 34′


  • Mack Mason, 4/5, 12′, 19′, 34′, 64′


NSW Country Eagles built a substantial wall with the defense plus getting their set pieces right.

It enabled to play smoothly through the attack especially the credit of Scrum-Half Jake Gordon who left with three tries tonight.

On the other hand, The Rays have done well with the defense in the 2nd half.

But they struggled with the scrummaging & discipline in the 1st half, so more expectation needed from the front rowers.

That issue oversaw a leak of points badly needed as the Rays still winless this NRC season.


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