The CSU NSW Country Eagles have held on to claim a 32-31 victory over the Greater Sydney Rams at Merrylands today in the opening round of the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championships.
Although the Rams outscored the Eagles five tries to four, a perfect day with the boot for Jono Lance proved the difference, as the Eagles held on for the slimmest of victories.
The Rams opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Jordan Heyer barged through a small gap in the Eagles defensive line to take a 5-0 lead.
The Eagles hit back after Andrew Kellaway put Joel Brooks in space to score an 80 metre try, before Ed Stubbs crossed from close range to give the visitors a 16-5 lead.
A yellow card to Eagles halfback Michael Dowsett saw momentum swing back in the Rams favour, with back to back tries to Cohen Mason and Paul Asquith handing Greater Sydney a two point lead in the 30th minute.
However once again the Eagles had an answer, with Dave Horwitz throwing a lovely cut-out ball to Joel Brooks, who linked with Andrew Kellaway to give the Eagles a 24-18 lead at half time.
Jed Gillespie barged over from close range early in the second half to take back the lead for the Rams, but Will Miller responded just minutes later to put the Eagles in front.
The Rams crossed again midway through the second half, however Jai Ayoub was unable to convert from the sideline, helping the Eagles hold on for a one point victory.
The CSU NSW Country Eagles face the UC Vikings at Woollahra Oval next Saturday afternoon. Tickets are on sale now at www.nswcountryeagles.com