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Mackay product Ben Adams has been named captain of Bond University Queensland Country ahead of the team’s Round 7 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship match against Perth Spirit this weekend.
Adams has been elevated to the leadership role after St.George Queensland Reds flanker Beau Robinson was ruled with a groin injury sustained in last week’s Round 6 match against Brisbane City.
Adams will be aided by flyhalf Matt Brandon who has been named vice-captain.
In Robinson’s place, University of Queensland flanker and medical student Jack de Guingand will earn his first starting opportunity for Queensland Country.
Despite the loss of a third contracted Reds player in two weeks, head coach Steve Meehan is optimistic heading into Saturday’s match.
“The loss of Beau is obviously another significant blow to the side but in his place we see two players earning opportunities,” Meehan said.
“Adams has been one of Queensland Country’s strongest performers this season off the back of an excellent Premier Rugby season with Sunnybank, where he was part of the Dragons’ leadership group. He was one of our best on field against City last week.
“Jack de Guingand, who comes in to start in the seven jersey, has offered us a lot coming off the bench in all bar one of our games so far this season. This week he earns the opportunity to show us what he is capable of in the starting XV.
“In the first half against City, we executed a number of first-phase plays that we identified would be beneficial to us, and we scored two tries from two visits into their half. The objective this weekend will be to provide ourselves with more opportunities in the attacking half with the ball in hand.”
Adams and de Guingand will be joined in the back row by GPS flanker Mitch King, who earns his first starting opportunity at blindside-flanker in place of James Turner, who moves to the bench.
In the second row, Sunshine Coast product and St.George Queensland Reds squad member, Blake Enever, has been elevated to the starting XV after making his return from injury last weekend against City.
In the back line, 17-year-old Campbell Magnay returns to the starting line-up at outside centre.
On the bench, Townsville brothers Michael (hooker) and Andrew (prop) Parker have retained their place within the squad after making their debuts off the bench last weekend. They will be joined by Sunnybank prop Feao Fotuaika as cover for the front row.
Easts lock Sam Fattal returns to the reserves while James Turner will offer cover for the back row.
In the backs, 18-year-old playmaker James Tuttle and University of Queensland centre Herman Porter will cover the inside backs, while Pierce Fitzgerald returns to the Country side after a number of weeks on the sideline with a hamstring injury. Fitzgerald will cover both the wing and fullback positions.
Bond University Queensland Country will play the Perth Spirit at 3:30pm (AWST) on Saturday 4 October, at Rockingham Rugby Union Club in Perth.
Bond University Queensland Country v Perth Spirit, Rockingham RUC, Saturday 4 October, 3:30pm (AWST)
1. Haydn Hirsimaki (Sunnybank)
2. Ryan Freney (GPS)
3. Campbell Wakely (University of Queensland)
4. Rubin Fuimaono (Bond University)
5. Blake Enever (Reds/Easts) - run-on debut
6. Mitch King (GPS) - run-on debut
7. Jack de Guingand (University of Queensland) - run-on debut
8. Ben Adams (Sunnybank) (C)
9. Sam Grasso (GPS)
10. Matt Brandon (Easts) (VC)
11. Giles Beveridge (Brothers)
12. Sam Johnson (Reds WTS/GPS)
13. Campbell Magnay (GPS)
14. Tom Pincus (University of Queensland)
15. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi (Reds/University of Queensland)
16. Michael Parker (Townsville Brothers)
17. Feao Fotuaika (Sunnybank) - potential debut
18. Andrew Parker (Townsville Brothers)
19. Sam Fattal (Easts)
20. James Turner (Souths)
21. James Tuttle (GPS)
22. Herman Porter (University of Queensland)
23. Pierce Fitzgerald (Brothers)
14 DECEMBER 2018