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Bond University Queensland Country head coach Rod Seib has named his side for the team’s first ever National Rugby Championship (NRC) clash in Mackay, which will see them host the Fijian Drua at BB Print Stadium on Saturday, 15 September.
Five changes have been made to the starting side that claimed a one-point win over the Melbourne Rising in Townsville last weekend.
In the frontrower, Wests hooker Efi Ma’afu will earn his first start of 2018, seeing Alex Casey shift to the reserves, while Harry Wilson will earn his starting debut at blindside flanker in what will be his third NRC appearance.
With St.George Queensland Reds flanker Liam Wright ruled out for the remainder of the NRC with a hamstring injury, 18-year-old Tom Kibble, who was part of GPS’ Hospital Challenge Cup premiership side, will make his Country and NRC debut in the no.7 jersey.
In the backs, Sunshine Coast junior Tate McDermott will make his NRC starting debut at scrumhalf, seeing James Tuttle shift to the reserves, and Filipo Daugunu will start on the wing.
In the reserves, Souths enforcer Sunia Finefeuaiki is in line for his potential NRC and Country debut, having been named as backrow cover.
“So far we’ve had a solid start to the season, but results over the first two weekends indicate that we’re in for our biggest challenge this weekend,” said Seib.
“The Drua have recorded big scores against both Melbourne and Brisbane City, and they have attacking threats across the park. Defence will be key for us this weekend.
“We’re looking forward to heading to another Country region this weekend in Mackay. As a squad we talk about representing country Queensland as a whole, and the team had a great weekend in Townsville last weekend.
“Our match forms part of the Mackay grand final weekend, with the local decider taking place after our match. We’re looking forward to getting involved in the local Rugby community and sharing what will be a massive day of Rugby with them.”
After the NRC clash between Queensland Country and the Fijian Drua, which kicks off at 1:00pm, Proserpine/Whitsunday Raiders and Mackay City will go head-to-head in the local Mackay Grand Final, kicking off at 3:30pm.
The NRC match will be LIVE streamed via www.foxsports.com.au.
Tickets for the NRC and local grand finals can be purchased here: http://bit.ly/2N8zA0C
Queensland Country side to face Fijian Drua:
1. Harry Hoopert - Reds/Brothers – Jondaryn
2. Effi Ma’afu - Wests
3. James Slipper – Reds/Bond University – Gold Coast
4. Harry Hockings – Reds/University of Queensland – Bowen
5. Angus Blyth – Reds/Bond University – Gold Coast
6. Harry Wilson** - Brothers
7. Tom Kibble* - GPS
8. Angus Scott-Young – Reds/University of Queensland
9. Tate McDermott** – Reds/University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast
10. Hamish Stewart – Reds/Bond University – Pittsworth
11. Filipo Daugunu - Reds/Wests
12. Duncan Paia’aua – Reds/Norths - Rockhampton
13. Jordan Petaia - Reds/Wests
14. Jock Campbell - University of Queensland – Gold Coast
15. Tom Lucas - Sunnybank – Rockhampton
16. Alex Casey - Souths
17. Richie Asiata - Easts
18. Jake Simeon - Souths
19. Michael Wood – Brothers
20. Sunia Finefeuiaki*** – Souths
21. James Tuttle – Reds/GPS
22. Tony Hunt - Norths
23. Patrick James - Brothers
*Denotes NRC and Queensland Country debut
**Denotes NRC and Queensland Country starting debut
***Denotes potential NRC and Queensland Country debut
17 SEPTEMBER 2018