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By NSW Waratahs Media unit
With the NSW Waratahs facing a bye this coming weekend, excitement is starting to build as players return back to their club roots - creating some thrilling match-ups in this weekend’s Shute Shield draw.
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Round 7 Televised Match: Gordon Vs Eastern Suburbs – Wade Park, Orange, 3:00PM
This weekend sees Gordon and Eastern Suburbs take a road trip up to Orange to battle it out against each other at the local Wade Park. Eastern Suburbs President John Murray is eager to take the game out to the bush.
“We’re really excited to give something back to our friends in the country and hopefully this is the first of many”, said Murray. “Rugby is alive and well in our rural areas and we believe it is critical for the competition to acknowledge their support.”
Easts have a large number of players from the Central West, including Orange local and scrumhalf, Jack Grant.
“(It) is a great opportunity for our players from the country to play in front of their home crowd.”
With Gordon displaying flashes of brilliance this season in their attack, they will be looking to their winger Paula Balekana to finish. Despite being arguably the most improved side of the season, the Highlanders will be hungry for a win to get the ball rolling for a finals berth.
NSW Waratahs pivot Mack Mason will be given the weekend off for the Beasties, paving the way for Archie King to start in the #10 jersey. Given the form of both sides in the first six rounds of competition, a foundation has been laid for a very unpredictable and electrifying game this coming Saturday.
Rumour has it that local teams the Orange Emus and Orange City are set to battle it out following the Shute Shield fixture, under the guise of our very own Tah Man.
You can catch all the action live on channel 7TWO at 3:00PM, kick off scheduled for 3:10PM.
Starting Line Up:
Manly vs Northern Suburbs – Manly Oval, 3:00PM
This weekend we are going to witness Manly and Northern Suburbs, both undefeated so far in 2017, battle it out for the top of the table. Whilst Manly may have the home ground advantage as well as returning NSW Waratah General Matt Lucas, Northern suburbs will receive a handy boost of four Tahs. With Irae Simone, Michael Wells, Bryce Hegarty and Angus Ta’avao returning for the Shoremen who are gunning for their 20th straight win, you can guarantee there’s good rugby viewing to be had at Manly Oval at 3pm this coming Saturday.
Parramatta vs Penrith – Merrylands RSL Rugby Park, 3:00PM
Parramatta are hosting Penrith at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park this coming Saturday. For visitors Penrith, they will be hungry for their first win of the season this week after putting up a tough contest against Sydney University last week. Shoe on the other foot, Parramatta will be stocked with Super Rugby-capped forwards Senio Toleafoa and David Lolohea in their pack, and you can expect that there will some thundering collisions, big hits and plenty of tries at the Two Blues’ home ground.
Sydney University vs Warringah – Sydney University Football Ground, 3:00PM
With both Sydney University and Warringah having wins over the past two weeks against their respective competitors, we will now see which team has the ability to keep their winning streak alive as both teams battle it out in the Student’s backyard. With Sydney Uni regaining NSW Waratahs Paddy Ryan and Nick Phipps, and the Rats’ backed by their own Northern Beaches stalwarts in Sam Needs and Harry Jones, it is expected that there will be some fierce competition at Sydney University Football ground at 3:00PM this Saturday.
Southern Districts vs West Harbour – Forshaw Rugby Park, 3:00PM
Southern Districts are coming off the back of a tight game last week against Warringah, where they lost in the dying minutes by five points. One week later, they back and ready for another tough game against giant-killers, West Harbour. Coming into the Rebels’ forward pack is NSW Waratah Jed Holloway, whose running game is sure to boost the backrow stocks alongside the in-form Jamason Faanana-Schultz. West Harbour, after convincingly defeating third on the ladder Eastwood by 15 points last week, will be looking to add a few more wins to their name. We can expect a tight clash against these two tough teams at Forshaw Rugby Park, 3:00PM this coming Saturday.
Randwick vs Eastwood – Coogee Oval, 3:00PM
With both teams sitting high up on the ladder and showing great promise as fierce contenders for the Shute Shield throne, we will see Eastwood take on Randwick at their home ground of Coogee Oval. Both teams possess the capacity to pull teams apart, with Randwick’s fullback Lachlan Anderson hitting great form at this point in the season. The Galloping Greens face off against the Woodies at 3:00PM this Saturday at Coogee Oval.
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The New South Wales Rugby Union is mourning the loss of former Waratah and Wallaby backrower Denis O’Callaghan, who passed away earlier this week.