The Sydney Stars take on Melbourne Rising in the final round of the NRC. (Image: AJF Photography)
Sydney Stars Vs. Queensland Country
2015 National Rugby Championship, 28 August, 2015
|Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, NSW|
|Sydney Stars 50 defeated Queensland Country 40|
|Sydney Stars||Queensland Country|
|Referee: G Cooper|
|Touch judges: A Lees & J Leckie|
Match Result: The Sydney Stars remain undefeated in the National Rugby Championship with a high scoring 50-40 win over Queensland Country.
In a shootout, at Leichardt Oval, the Stars would score seven tries to five to remain at the top of the ladder.
In a match of great rugby, both teams shone in attack, as they scored six tries combined in the first half.
Sydney would start the onslaught with two tries in the first 15 minutes.
They opened up a 13-8 lead with a try to Izala Perese keeping Country in the match.
The scoring wasn’t without drama as two players went down with injury.
JJ Taulagi was the first, for Queensland Country, as he was stretchered off after five minutes.
Henry Clunies-Ross then joined Taulagi, as he was stretchered off one minute after he scored the second try for the Stars.
Both looked bad and could be devastating injuries for the players involved.
Queensland then took the lead with a 25th minute try to James Tuttle.
A great run by Chris Feauai-Sautia set up the try for Country as he beat three defenders along the way.
This would be the only lead they had during the match with Sydney responding with two tries before half time.
They led 29-16 at the only change.
Sydney would extend it to 18 with a try to David Hickey as the rolling maul worked well against Country.
Queensland responded, with two tries in eight minutes, as the gap reduced to five points.
It didn’t last though as Sydney made Country pay for a knock on after the restart from their last try.
Tom Robertson would score his 2nd try to make it 13 points.
Another try to Matthew Philip, in the 64th minute, would seal the match and bring up 50 points for the team.
The Stars were better on the lineout, and made less mistakes, than Country.
Queensland did well on the scrum but struggled to match the Stars in scoring.
For the teams that finished 2nd and last though, from 2014, it was a game that showed how much both teams have improved in 12 months.
Sydney are now on top and will look to remain in that position next week against Perth.
Queensland Country will face Brisbane in a derby.
Match Preview: The Sydney Stars will look to remain at the top of the National Rugby Championship ladder when they take on the Queensland Country at Leichardt Oval. Join The Roar for live coverage of the match from 7:30pm (AEST).
Last week the Stars had six different players run in six tries to defeat the North Harbour Rays 45-29.
Meanwhile, a double to Sef Fa’agase was not enough for Queensland Country to defeat the Melbourne Rising and take the Horan-Little Shield, going down 39-31.
Country have eight Reds in the squad this week, with three changes made.
Campbell Wakely, who was replaced last minute by Saia Fainga’a last week, is back in the team, with Fainga’a off to London to play for the Barbarians.
Jack Cornelsen replaces Radike Samo at number 8, with Maclean Jones – who has been compared to Quade Cooper – earning his first start for the Queensland side.
These two teams faced each other once last year, with Country winning 53-29 in Townsville.
However the Stars look better than the team that finished last in 2014. This match will be closer.
Sydney to reverse the loss from last year and remain at the top of the ladder.
Sydney Stars by 3.
Join The Roar for live scores and coverage of the Sydney Stars versus Queensland Country clash from 7:30pm (AEST).