Newcastle Barabarians coach Scott Coleman believes the National Rugby Championship should continue visiting the Hunter region annually following Saturday’s semi-final clash at No.2 Sportsground.
An estimated 1900 people turned out to see the NSW Country Eagles advance to this weekend’s decider in Tamworth following a 50-24 victory against the Melbourne Rising.
In the competition’s third year it was the first finals match played in Newcastle and only the second overall after last season’s round game between the Eagles and Queensland Country.
Coleman reckons it should be an annual event.
“I think the NHRU should put in a bid to get a game every year,” he said.
“It’s so close for Eagles players to come here [from Sydney] and foreign teams can fly here directly.”
Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union general manager Andy Fairfull said they would bid again next year with Eagles officials pleased with the display only a week after announcing the venue.
“The NSW Country Eagles were impressed with the organisation of the event and the quality of the facility,” Fairfull said. “The condition and pace of the playing surface was also noted.”
Coleman’s side earlier defeated the Country Barbarians 65-35 in a curtain-raiser with Josh McCormack and Chris Logan both scoring multiple tries while Dylan Heins was a standout performer.
The hosts led 28-24 at half-time after Country opened with the first two converted tries.
AAP reports: Three NSW Country Eagles players crossed for doubles in Saturday’s 26-point National Rugby Championship semi-final win against Melbourne Rising in Newcastle.
Winger Reece Robinson, man-of-the-match Samuel Figg and scrumhalf Jake Gordon each scored two tries as NSW Country secured a home final.
Second-rower Rohan O'Reegan scored Country's other try in the seven-tries-to-three romp.
But the minor premiers were forced to play catch-up, after Wallabies back Sefanaia Naivalu scored the opening try for Melbourne in the first minute.
Five minutes later hooker Pat Leafa barged over in the corner to help Rising earn a 16-0 lead.
NSW then scored 42 unanswered points to effectively put the game beyond Melbourne, although Rising flanker Jordy Reid scored a try with 15 minutes to go to trim the margin to 18.
- Hunter women’s rugby player Mollie Gray departs for New Zealand on Monday ahead of the Wallaroos’ two-Test series against the Black Ferns.