YOUNG Warringah outside back Tyson Davis will get his first start in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship when the Macquarie Uni North Harbour Rays take on Melbourne Rising on Thursday night at Manly Oval.
Davis has been given his chance to start ahead of respected clubmate Michael Adams who will work from the bench this week.
The 20-year-old has made the most of the chances that he has received off the bench in the first two weeks of the NRC and head coach Geoff Townsend wants to see how copes with the front end of games.
“Yeah he’s made the most of his opportunities off the bench in these first few weeks and we just want to see what he can do early in a game,” Townsend said.
“This isn’t any sort of reflection on ‘Mika’ and what he has done in the first two weeks but we see it as the best way to get the most out of both these guys at this stage of the season.”
Davis is seen at the Warringah club as a star in the making after coming to the club from Barker College, where he played with harry Jones, after a distinguished career in the Rats’ junior representative teams.
He made the Australian U20s squad earlier this year and every time he played in the Shute Shield he made the most of opportunities.
Davis is being mentored at the Rats by former Wallaby mark Gerrard and also former Super Rugby star Lachlan Mackay.
Mackay says Davis is the type of player who will get better with every new experience he gets on the field. A slow burner who will just get better and better, he says.
Manly Marlins flyhalf Sam Lane has been given another week to recover from his nagging ankle injury and will watch on once again from the sidelines at Manly Oval on Thursday night.
That means that Hamish Angus gets another week to put his case to the selectors about hanging on to the starting flyhalf role.
Angus has been in fine form in the first two weeks of the NRC working well with scrumhalf Josh Holmes and looking sharp in attack and defence.
He laid on a super ball to Reece Hodge at a critical time of last weekend’s game against the Perth Spirit that saw the fullback make a nice line break and pass to Alex Northam who scores in the corner.
Another Ray to get his chance at the star of a game this week is Northern Suburbs prop Lawrance Hunting who will start in place of Wayne Borsak.
Borsak had lower back soreness earlier this week and it was decided that Hunting and Nick Fraser would take care of the right hand side of the scrum this week.
The backrow, which went so well in Perth, has been retained with Boyd Killingworth being given another chance to build on the form that he has displayed in the competition’s first two weeks.
Mark Johnson swaps with Gordon clubmate Harry Rorke for the starting lock role with the experienced Cameron Treloar.
Rorke worked hard in those first 25 minutes when the Rays were under the coche in Perth and his energy and urgency will be needed at the back end of the game against the Rising.
The team has worked hard on their set piece this week after arriving back in Sydney from Perth on the “red eye” on Sunday morning.
They have had two runs this week, working well on Monday night and also Tuesday night to finalise preparations.
Australia U20s prop Fereti Sa’aga will make his first Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) start, as the Melbourne Rising head to Manly Oval to face the North Harbour Rays on Thursday night.
Melbourne-born and raised Sa’aga represented the Australian Schoolboys in 2013, Samoa U20s in 2014 and Australia U20s at this year’s World Rugby U20s Championship in Italy.
The powerful and talented loosehead, who made two appearances off the bench in the 2014 NRC and has come off the bench in both of the Rising’s 2015 matches, replaces Mike Tyler (knee) in the only change to the starting lineup from last Saturday’s Round Two clash with Brisbane City.
With Tim Metcher ruled out for the remainder of the 2015 NRC with a hamstring injury, young Brothers (QLD) prop Tom Moloney has relocated to Melbourne and is a chance to become the seventeenth Melbourne Rising debutant of the campaign.
Following defeat against the reigning premiers on Saturday, Melbourne Rising Head Coach Zane Hilton said he was pleased his side would have the opportunity to return to action so quickly against the Rays on Thursday night.
“We’ve reviewed Saturday’s match, finding some work ons and focusing upon some missed opportunities, but most importantly we’ve moved past that quickly and trained well in preparation for facing the Rays,” Hilton said.
“They’re coming off a fantastic win last weekend in Perth, and we know that they represent a stern test, but we’re focusing upon what we can control and what we are capable of.”
Wingers Stacey Ili and Justin Marsters, stars of Victoria’s Direct Connect Dewar Shield, impressed on their NRC debuts last week and Hilton said he was looking forward to unleashing them against the Rays.
“It was really pleasing to see ‘Juddy’ and ‘Stace’ running out in the Rising kit for the first time, and they equipped themselves really well; they’re certainly able to have an impact at this level, and not only myself but also their teammates are very excited to see them go again on Thursday night.”
The Round Three clash between the Melbourne Rising and North Harbour Rays at Manly Oval will be broadcast live on FOX Sports this Thursday, at 7:30pm.
Macquarie Uni North Harbour Rays side to play Melbourne Rising:
15. Reece HODGE (Manly)
14. Alex NORTHAM (Manly)
13. Dennis PILI-GAITAU (Manly)
12. Tom HILL (Eastwood)
11. Tyson DAVIS (Warringah)
10. Hamish ANGUS (Warringah)
9. Josh HOLMES (Warringah)
8. Sam WARD (Warringah)
7. Boyd KILLINGWORTH (Warringah)
6. Jack DEMPSEY (Gordon)
5. Cameron TRELOAR (Warringah)
4. Mark JOHNSON (Gordon)
3. Lawrance HUNTING (Nothern Suburbs)
2. Luke HOLMES (captain, Warringah)
1. Mitch LEWIS (Manly)
16. Vance ELLIOTT (Manly)
17. Rory O’CONNOR (Warringah)
18. Nick FRASER (Gordon)
19. Harry RORKE (Gordon)
20. Harry BERGELIN (Manly)
21. Tim DONLAN (Manly)
22. Michael ADAMS (Warringah)
23. Richard WOOLF (Northern Suburbs
Melbourne Rising team to play North Harbour Rays:
1. Fereti Sa’aga (Melbourne Uni, 4 Rising caps)
2. Pat Leafa (Box Hill & Rebels, 11 Rising caps)
3. Duncan Chubb (Southern Districts (NSW), 2 Rising caps)
4. Murray Douglas (Harlequin, 2 Rising caps)
5. Steve Cummins (Harlequin & Rebels, 2 Rising caps)
6. Jordy Reid (Melbourne & Rebels, 2 Rising caps)
7. Scott Fuglistaller (Moorabbin & Rebels, 2 Rising caps) (Captain)
8. Colby Fainga’a (Footscray & Rebels, 2 Rising caps)
9. Ben Meehan (Box Hill & Rebels, 5 Rising caps)
10. Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills & Rebels, 11 Rising caps)
11. Stacey Ili (Melbourne Uni, 1 Rising cap)
12. Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin, 11 Rising caps)
13. Leo Taliu (Harlequin, 2 Rising cap)
14. Justin Marsters (Harlequin, 1 Rising cap)
15. Jonah Placid (Melbourne Uni & Rebels, 9 Rising caps)
16. Mitch Andrews (Melbourne, 1 Rising cap)
17. Tom Moloney (Brothers) *
18. Matt Onesemo (Melbourne Uni, 1 Rising cap)
19. Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni & Rebels, 10 Rising caps)
20. Pom Simona (Harlequin, 10 Rising caps)
21. Maradona Farao (Harlequin, 1 Rising cap)
22. Sione Tuipulotu (Southern Districts, 2 Rising caps)
23. Filipe Vilitati (Box Hill, 1 Rising cap)
*Denotes potential Melbourne Rising debut