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By NSW Waratahs Media unit
The Sydney Rays have named their first lineup of the season as they prepare to take on a standout Greater Sydney Rams this Sunday as the finisher for a huge weekend of rugby at Macquarie University.
Now under the guise of former Wallaby Julian Huxley, the Rays were semi-finalists in 2016 before getting pipped by current NRC champions, Perth Spirit.
Equipped with a new-look side, the Rays are captained by NSW Waratah hooker Damien Fitzpatrick
NSW Waratahs hooker Damien Fitzpatrick will skipper a new-look Rays side that hosts a cocktail of emerging club, Super Rugby, young and old talent.
Up front, Fitzpatrick is sandwiched between Manly’s Sio Tatola and Two-Blue/NSW Waratah debutant David Lolohea, which will go up against an all-Eastwood front row in Jed Gillespie, Tahs hooker Hugh Roach and Rob Lagudi.
Greater Sydney’s Albert Tuisue was a force to be reckoned with last Sunday against the Eagles and will no doubt cause plenty of headaches come Sunday afternoon.
Rams captain Jed Holloway set the precendent for his side’s defence in round one, while his opposite number Hugh Sinclair too has a reputation for his physicality.
In the halves, young halfback Matt Gonzalez has earnt a start for the Rams and will pair with NSW Waratahs flyhalf Mack Mason. Together, they will face Norths’ Nick Duffy and Manly’s Sam Lane whose combination is yet to be tested. However, if their performances in Shute Shield were enough of an indicator then Rays fans will know they are in good hands.
If the matchups above weren’t enough, NSW flyer Taqele Naiyaravoro will face off against Gordon’s excitement machine and top try scorer for 2017, Paula Balekana.
For the first time this year, brothers Latu and Apolosi Latunipulu will play side by side in the Sydney jumper after playing against each other several times during the Shute Shield season.
Make sure you are down at Macquarie University for the second NSW derby of the 2017 NRC season, because there’s going to be (theoretical) fireworks.
You can catch the Sydney Rays and the Greater Sydney Rams in action at Macquarie University this Sunday, September 10th at 3pm.
Greater Sydney Rams
Damien Fitzpatrick ©
Jed Holloway ©
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Here are our six talking points out of NSW ahead of round four of the NRC.