Northern Inland rugby sides need to lift in Gold Cup

THE region’s rugby talent was in the spotlight at Armidale on Sunday and, while they didn’t fare well on the scoreboard, Northern Inlands 15s and 17s will get another chance to shine this weekend in the ARU Junior Gold Cup.

They’ll host Sydney North West in Armidale on Sunday.

Both sides will be searching for their first wins after going down to Hunter to follow first-up losses to Sydney South Harbour.

The 15s will be looking for a big improvement after a disappointing effort against Hunter.

They were beaten 57-nil and performed well below their potential.

“We didn’t execute well,” co-coach Gus Comi said.

That was the case in both  general play and the set pieces, which meant they struggled to put Hunter under any pressure.

“We had no possession,” Comi said.

They would have hardly touched the ball in the first 20 minutes. 

The last five minutes of the first half they had a bit of ball but they couldn’t do anything with it.

They were also deficient defensively.

“We were a bit ill-disciplined with our defence,” Comi said. 

“There were too many loose tackles.”

The second half they were better. 

The set pieces functioned better and they made more inroads in attack – they even came close to scoring a couple of times.

In one instance, winger Brandon Humphries made a good run down the sideline to nearly score a try.

Comi and co-coach Bernie Williams will have a bit to contemplate this week after picking up a few injuries.

“There’s about seven under a cloud,” Comi said.

“Hopefully they’ll be right for next week.”

They had made a few significant positional changes from the Sydney South game and one of the positives from Sunday was how Bo Abra went at number eight.

He played fullback the first game but added a bit more authority to the pack, which is what they were after.

Fullback Percy Duncan, five-eighth Edward Pitt, hooker Sam Laurie and second-rower Rohan Edwards were others to have strong games.

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