Ready for ‘the ultimate test’

After eight weeks of the ACT premier rugby competition, two teams sit atop the ladder with a duck-egg in the losses column. As of 5pm on Saturday June 1, only one team will remain with undefeated status.

It’s the age-old rivalry of Red & Black Vs. Blue, which was born in the ’80s when the two clubs went head-to-head in seven consecutive John I Dent Cup grand finals.

In 2019, the Gungahlin Eagles have accounted for the Vikings twice, Easts, Queanbeyan, Uni-Norths, and Wests. Whilst Royals have toppled Easts twice, Queanbeyan twice, Wests, and Uni-Norths. The Eagles hold the number one spot with 6 bonus-points compared to Royals 4.

This weekend, it won’t matter who sits where, who’s played who, and which 15 take the field. Expect passionate, loud, hard-hitting rugby.

Eagles Director of Rugby Troy Atkins, says it won’t be hard for the men in black to find their ‘why’ this week.

“There are two clear motivations for our club this week. One of course, is remaining on track as the team to beat in 2019 and ensuring Royals feel the pressure of playing what is currently the top team in the competition, at our home ground Nicholls.

“Then you add the excitement of Heritage Round, the biggest day on our calendar. Our Old Boys come out in full force, present the jerseys, and make more noise than anyone could possibly expect.

“We haven’t felt the need to discuss the significance of Heritage Round directly with the playing group. As an Eagle, you’re a part of the legacy and you’re always surrounded by the rich history of the club. The players know what it means to pull the jersey on, and this week the boys will be wearing a pretty special strip which incorporates the names of hundreds of great club people.

“Marco has been pretty clear that if we focus on our strengths this weekend, being a dominant scrum, an extremely physical defensive line, and a high-pace tempo we’ll get the job done.

This weekend will see the inaugural winner of the Craig Morton Medal, which will go to the Eagles Best on Ground in the 1st Grade Heritage Round match as voted by the old boys on the day. Craig will present the winner at the Red & Black Ball. Morto played 214 games for the Eagles – all of them in First Grade. He capped off a stellar season in 1986 with a John I Dent Cup 1st Grade Premiership, and along the way was selected in the Australian 7’s team.

Last time the two sides met it was played in character-building conditions on the Eagles 2018 Heritage Round at Nicholls Oval. The Eagles defeated the Blue Baggers 20 – 12 in a game that went down to the wire. Royals didn’t manage to cross the line once, kicking four penalty goals to lead for most of the 1st-half.

Luke Duffey crossed the line, and made a monstrous try-saving tackle on the defensive left edge to starve Royals of any comeback chances. Rocky Ilolahia scored off the back of a scrum to widen the margin to eight points when the final siren sounded.

The Heritage Round festivities will commence at 12pm with lunch and drinks being provided for old boys in attendance. There have been significant time changes to the day to allow for the Old Gold Eagles Exhibition match.

After the rugby we’ll head to the Rex Hotel for the Annual Red & Black Ball which is the perfect opportunity for players, volunteers, old boys, partners, family and friends to come together for a relaxing evening of celebrating the club as a whole.

Buy your tickets here: www.trybooking.com/BCHQA

Your ticket will get you:

– Entry and your seat for the event
– A succulent two-course meal
– Open bar from 7pm
– Chance to win a 2019 Heritage Round jersey, Signed and framed 2019 Brumbies jersey, an ultimate Eagles supporter pack and more
– Entertainment in the form of live music and a stand-up comedian

Get your tickets and don’t miss out!