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Mogg set for comeback as Wests aim for double against Royals

Jesse Mogg will play in the local Canberra competition with Wests.

Jesse Mogg will play in the local Canberra competition with Wests. Photo: Getty Images

Wests is set to be bolstered by the return of club star Jesse Mogg as it aims to complete a two-game clean sweep against Royals on Wednesday night.

Mogg will make his John I Dent Cup comeback, barring injury, when Wests plays Royals for the second time in four days.

The three-Test Wallaby is returning to his Canberra roots in an attempt to recapture his best form after being left out of the Australian squad for the mid-year series against France and being dropped to the ACT Brumbies' bench.

Royals player Steve Sione is pushed over the boundry. Click for more photos

John I Dent Cup: Royals v Wests

John I Dent Cup: Royals v Wests Photo: Jeffrey Chan

It's a major boost for Wests after it landed a big blow against Royals on Saturday, moving up the ladder with a bonus point 30-19 win at Phillip Oval.

But it was the Tuggeranong Vikings who staked their claim for a fourth consecutive premiership, thrashing competition struggler Easts 92-0 in a brutal match.

The bad news for Easts is that it will have to suit up again to play a return match against the Vikings on Wednesday night.

The opening round washout means Wests will play Royals and the Vikings will clash with Easts on Wednesday in make-up matches.

The three-day turnaround results in a bizarre preparation for both teams, with Wests to break from routine and hold its first recovery session of the year at the AIS on Sunday morning.

Mogg will add a new dimension to Wests, which charged to third on the ladder in an intense finals race.

Royals, last season's grand finalist, has dropped out of the top four but gets a chance to atone for its mistake-riddled performance.

Wests coach Craig Robberds said getting the double against Royals was crucial to setting up the club's title hopes.

"The competition is so close this year, every win is important," Robberds said.

"The washout in round one threw a lot of teams, we played one game in a month and it's taken us a bit of time to get going."

Brumbies assistant and Canberra Vikings coach Dan McKellar was at the ground to cast his eye over potential recruits for the ARU's National Rugby Championship in August.

Wests flanker Michael Smith, lock Dave McKern and centre Charlie Luteru are pushing their case while Royals fullback Tim Cornforth leads his club's selection hopes.

Wests scored four tries as it withstood a Royals fightback in the second half to clinch an 11-point win.

Giant No.8 Uelese Uelese was almost unstoppable from the back of the scrum, but it was winger Sione Fangaiuiha double that set up the win.

Fangaiuiha sealed the crucial victory with a try in the dying minutes against the run of play to put an end to Royals' hopes of a comeback.

Royals' 12 first-half turnovers crippled any chance of gaining momentum and it pushed too many passes in the second half as it chased the game.

"There were too many errors, we gave the ball back to them," said Royals coach Russell Ingram.

"We got back into in the second half but we tried too hard to do too many things and missed our chance.

"We get a chance at them again this week, maybe we can cut down on the miracle balls."


WESTS 30 (S Fangaiuiha 2, P Raines, U Uelese tries; S Uphill 2 penalties, 2 conversions) bt ROYALS 19 (P Rolando, J Swain, T Cornforth tries; P Rolando 2 conversions), GUNGAHLIN EAGLES 26 bt UNI-NORTHS OWLS 10, TUGGERANONG VIKINGS 92 bt EASTS 0.

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