Sydney Rays & NSW Country Eagles 2018 NRC playing squads announced

The Sydney Rays and the NSW Country Eagles 2018 NRC playing squads have been announced ahead of the two side’s opening matches this weekend.

Half of the NSW Country squad have strong links in the State’s regions while Sydney boasts some Shute Shield finalists and Parramatta Eels rugby league youngster, John Folau.

It is great to be recognising and rewarding the talent that we have in the State. These guys are proud of their heritage and what they represent, and I am excited to be working with them all,” NSW Country Eagles coach Darren Coleman said.

His counterpart at Sydney, Chris Whitaker, agrees.

“We have picked players who have performed really well in Shute Shield this year and this is another opportunity for them to perform on a national stage. As I have said before, the NRC is an intense nine-week programme and a chance for players and coaches to step up and embrace the challenge,” Whitaker said.

The coaches said the selection criteria was simple, ensuring that the talent within in the State was equally spread across both teams while fulfilling the goal of seeing as many regional born or raised players in the NSW Country team colours, or players who have represented Country previously.

Sydney will be captained by NSW Waratahs hooker Damien Fitzpatrick while the man from Tamworth, Paddy Ryan, will lead NSW Country.

Fitzpatrick said the prospect of reigniting the City v Country rivalry will be one of the highlights of the NRC this year when Sydney and NSW Country play a blockbuster derby at Leichhardt Oval on 19 September.

“It’s definitely worth putting on the calendar. While there are plenty of guys who know each other well, we are passionate about who we are playing for and why we are playing. That game has also brought on fierce rivalry,” Fitzpatrick said.

Sydney Rays Squad:

Damien Fitzpatrick, Cameron Betham, Harry Burey, Cam Clark, Tim Clements, Tyson Davis, Jack Dempsey, Nick Duffy, John Folau, Pama Fou, Will Harrison, Maclean Jones, Josh Kemeny, Latu Latunipulu, Ryan McCauley, Enoka Muliufi, Rory O’Connor, Nick Palmer, Guy Porter, Kiernan Rabie, Curtis Rona, Matt Sandell, JP Sauni, Mitch Short, Pat Sio, Hugh Sinclair, Theo Strang, Lachlan Swinton, David Vea, Connor Vest, Shambeckler Vui, Michael Wells.

NSW Country Eagles Squad:

Patrick Ryan, Charlie Abel, Nick Champion de Crespigny, Matt Gibbon, Alex Gibbon, Denny Godinet, Jake Gordon, Jaline Graham, Jack Grant, Jed Holloway, Tom Horton, Alex Humfrey, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Robert Lagudi, Apolosi Latunipulu, Mack Mason, William McDonnell, Emmanuel Meafou, Will Miller, Alex Newsome, Rohan Saifoloi, Angus Sinclair, Mick Snowden, Tom Staniforth, Rory Suttor, Patrick Tafa, Christopher Talakai, Sam Thomson, Mahe Vailanu, Cody Walker, Samuel Ward, Sebastian Wileman, Brad Wilkin.

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