Rising go down to Eagles in semi-final
The Melbourne Rising’s 2016 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship campaign has come to an end after going down to the NSW Country Eagles 50-24 in the semi-final in Newcastle on Saturday.
Doubles from Samuel Figg, Reece Robinson and Jake Gordon helped the Eagles to a seven-try-to-three victory in warm conditions to secure a home grand final in Tamworth next weekend.
Earlier, there was no sign of the slow start that plagued the Rising when the two sides last met in the third round, when freshly capped Wallaby Sefa Naivalu got the visitors off to a flyer in the first minute.
The Rising doubled their advantage five minutes later when a well executed set piece from a lineout saw Colby Fainga’a dish the ball back to hooker Pat Leafa to crash over in the corner for a 16-0 lead.
The minor premiers weren’t kept quiet for long though when Samuel Figg scored a breakaway intercept try against the run of play which swung momentum in favour of the Eagles.
Two tries in two minutes from Robinson then erased the early deficit as the Eagles took the lead for the first time in the game on the half-hour.
The Rising’s afternoon was compounded by a knee injury to Dom Shipperley, before Figg crossed for his second of the game in the shadows of half-time to give the Eagles a 28-16 lead at the break.
Tries to Rohan O’Reegan and Gordon helped the hosts extend their advantage to 24-16 midway through the second-half before Jordy Reid gave the visitors a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes remaining.
Reid outmuscled four Eagles defenders to finish off another line out set piece to cut the margin to 42-24.
The hosts scored their seventh and final try on fulltime when Gordon dove over to complete the 26-point victory.
“It was a really great performance from the Eagles, they really showed their class in the last 50-60 minutes of the game,” Rising head coach Zane Hilton said.
“We’re really happy with the way that we started and there were certainly some performances that matched what we were after but we just weren’t good enough today.”
NSW Country Eagles 50 (Figg 2, Robinson 2, Gordon 2, O’Reegan tries; Deegan 3, Adams cons) defeated Melbourne Rising 24 (Naivalu, Leafa, Reid tries; 3 cons)
News Source: Melbourne Rising/Rebels Media