Country players celebrate winning the NRC semi-final at Bond University.
Country players celebrate winning the NRC semi-final at Bond University.

Country through to NRC final after wet and wild semi

QUEENSLAND Country overcame a lightning stoppage to secure a berth in the National Rugby Championship final against Fijian Drua to be played in Lautoka, Fiji on Saturday.

The home side triumphed 45-24 over the Western Force in their semi-final contested in torrential conditions on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

With the lightning policy being introduced, play was delayed for several minutes in the second half.

"I'm really pleased with the team's performance today, we had a hard task on our hands against the Force and the team delivered," Country coach Rod Seib said.

"The team knew if we were to get on top of the Force, we had to start well and nullify their set piece dominance, which we did.

"The team now have the chance to claim back to back titles and that's a massive accomplishment for the group and Queensland Rugby.

"We've struggled to put together a full 80 minute performance all year and today's game was a positive change in that respect.

"The team started well, weathered both the weather and the Force's fight back and managed to close out the match.

"It's pleasing to see the group continue to grow and improve each week.

"We've got a tough challenge ahead of next weekend.

"The Fijians will be well supported at home and we saw in their semifinal yesterday their ability to stay in the game and compete.

"It's a great opportunity for our team to overcome yet another tough challenge and hopefully claim the title again."

Country will face a confident Drua team who remain unbeaten at home all season after downing the Canberra Vikings 35-28 in the other semi-final on Saturday, also in wet conditions.

Both sides scored five tries and it was the more accurate boot of Enele Malele that gave the hosts victory.

FIJIAN DRUA 35 (pen try, F Lomani, E Mawi, E Radrodro, A Tabulawaki tries; E Malele 3, A Waqatabu con) CANBERRA VIKINGS 28 (A Muirhead, L Taliauli, R Valetini, T Banks, N Lolesio tries; N Lolesio pen) at Churchill Park, Lautoka.

QUEENSLAND COUNTRY 45 (J Petaia 2, C Timu, C Feauai-Sautia, H Hoopert, T Kibble, A Scott-Young tries; H Stewart 2 con, 2 pen) WESTERN FORCE 24 (B Lacey, H Tessmann, H Lloyd tries; I Prior 3 con, pen) at Bond Uni Rugby Field, Gold Coast

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