Super Rugby


Bond University Queensland Country squad named for grand final re-match with Canberra Vikings

Bond University Queensland Country head coach Rod Seib has named his match-day 23 for their 2018 National Rugby Championship (NRC) opener against the Canberra Vikings at Viking Park in Tuggeranong this Saturday, 1 September, kick-off at 5:00pm. 

The match will act as a grand final rematch, with Country having defeated the Vikings at the same venue just less then 12 months ago, to claim the 2017 NRC title. 

Seventeen players from the 2017 premiership squad have been named in the match-day 23, while four players in the starting XV and a further two on the bench are in-line for their NRC and Country debuts. A total of 12 capped St.George Queensland Reds feature in the side, as well as capped Wallabies James Slipper and Caleb Timu and capped Australian Men’s Sevens players Tom Lucas and Tate McDermott. 

The frontrow will see debutant Harry Hoopert, a Dalby Wheatmen junior, pack down alongside Alex Casey and Slipper. Reds locks Harry Hockings and Angus Blyth will start in the second row, while fellow Reds squad members Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright and Timu will form the backrow. 

In the halves, the regular 2017 combination of James Tuttle and Hamish Stewart will return at scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively. Inside centre and captain Duncan Paia’aua will form a new-look centre combination with 18-year-old Jordan Petaia, who had a break-out year for the Reds in just his first year out of school. 

In the back three, 2017 representative Jock Campbell will start on the right-wing, while Bond University’s Joey Fittock and Australian Sevens flyer Lucas will both make their NRC and Queensland Country debuts. 

In the reserves, Efi Ma’afu, Richie Asiata and potential debutant Jake Simeon will provide frontrow cover, Rob Puli’uvea will cover lock, while Queensland Premier Rugby’s Alec Evans medalist (player of the year) Tai Ford and U19s player of the year Harry Wilson will provide backow cover in an eight-two split on the bench. Sunshine Coast product McDermott and Brothers’ Patrick James have been named as reserve backs. 

Queensland Country head coach Rod Seib said: “It’s an exciting time of the year, we’ve only had a short lead in but I’m really pleased with how the players have applied themselves at training and we’re prepared for Saturday. 

“We’ve got a large contingent of last year’s squad carrying through to this season, with 17 in the match-day 23 for Round 1. It’s great to have some consistency in selection, while the players on debut have earned selection through their performances at training, club Rugby and last weekend’s trial against City. 

“We’re expecting the Vikings side to be strong, much like last year, and it will be a tough challenge for the team first up in what will be a grand final re-match.” 

Saturday’s match between Country and the Vikings kicks off at 5:00pm, and will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports channel 503. 

Queensland Country side to face Canberra Vikings: 
1. Harry Hoopert* - Brothers – Jondaryn 
2. Alex Casey - Souths 
3. James Slipper - Bond University – Gold Coast 
4. Harry Hockings - University of Queensland – Bowen 
5. Angus Blyth - Bond University – Gold Coast
6. Angus Scott-Young - University of Queensland 
7. Liam Wright - Easts
8. Caleb Timu - Souths
9. James Tuttle - GPS
10. Hamish Stewart - Bond University – Pittsworth 
11. Joey Fittock* - Bond University – Gold Coast
12. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths - Rockhampton
13. Jordan Petaia* - Wests
14. Jock Campbell - University of Queensland – Gold Coast
15. Tom Lucas* - Sunnybank – Rockhampton 

16. Effi Ma’afu - Wests
17. Richie Asiata - Easts
18. Jake Simeon** - Souths 
19. Rob Puli’uvea - Wests
20. Tai Ford - Bond University – Gold Coast
21. Harry Wilson** - Brothers
22. Tate McDermott - University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast 
23. Patrick James - Brothers 
*Denotes NRC and Queensland Country debut 
**Denotes potential NRC and Queensland Country debut 

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