A win is a win, the old adage goes. So on paper, at least, the Wallabies 26-7 victory over Italy, with a four tries to one advantage, looks impressive given the recent run of dismal results for Australia.
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The Sydney Rays have bounced back from their first loss of the season last week, defeating Brisbane City by six points on Sunday afternoon.
Brisbane City 32
Sydney Rays 38
Defending NRC champions Brisbane City will be searching for just their second win of the 2016 season when they host the Sydney Rays.
It’s been a rough season for the defending champions, and now they find themselves in a must-win position half way through the season.
Brisbane’s only win came in week two over the currently-winless Western Sydney Rams, and they have not looked good since.
City will be forced to play without scrumhalf Nick Frisby, who is on Wallabies duty, but they will have Michael Gunn back, who missed last week’s game due to illness. Adam Korczyk also finds his way back into the squad, as he returns from a knee injury.
The Rays are coming off their first loss of the season, going down to table leaders New South Wales Country Eagles by 20-points.
Unlike the Country Eagles, before that loss the Rays had times where they seemed uneasy in defence, particularly against Queensland Country in round three.
The Rays will welcome Jack Dempsey back into the squad, but will be without Nick Palmer who will miss out due to a hamstring tear.
The last time these two sides played was in the 2015 season. It was a much better year for Brisbane City, as they took the 55 – 29 win at home.
This is a must-win game for Brisbane City, and it is a very winnable game as well. Expect them to get the job done, but don’t expect it to be pretty.
Brisbane City by 5
Kick-off: 3pm AEST
Venue: Ballymore Oval, Brisbane
Table position: Brisbane City sixth, Sydney Rays third
Last meeting: Brisbane City 55 – 29 Sydney Rays
BRISBANE CITY: Pettowa Paraka, Andrew Ready, Sam Talakai (c), David Findlay-Henaway, Lukhan Tui, Luke Beauchamp, Michael Gunn, Isi Naisarani, Moses Sorovi, Jake McIntyre, Alex Gibbon, Patrick James, Toby White, Chris Kuridrani, Brad Lacey.
Bench: Matt Mafi, Markus Vanzati, Feao Fotuaika, Criff Tupou, Adam Korczyk, Angus Fowler, Mitch Felsman, Jack De Guingand.
SYDNEY: Rory O’Connor, Damien Fitzpatrick, Lawrance Hunting, Connor Vest, James Brown, Jack Dempsey, Michael Smith, Michael Wells, Matt Lucas (c), Angus Sinclair, Harry Jones, Irae Simone, Con Foley, Josh Turner, Jonathan Malo.
Bench: James Hilterbrand, Ezra Luxton, Alain Miriallakis, Adrian Hall, Chris Alcock, Dewet Roos, Lochie Creagh, Seb Wileman.