Bond University Queensland Country head coach Jason Gilmore has made three changes to his side ahead of Country’s Round 2 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) match against the Sydney Stars at Leichardt Oval tomorrow night (Thursday).
With last week’s late inclusion, St.George Queensland Reds hooker Saia Fainga’a, unavailable due to selection in the Barbarians squad, Campbell Wakely returns to the starting side at hooker.
In the backrow Jack Cornelsen moves to Number 8 in place of Radike Samo who is unavailable for Thursday night’s match. Australian Under-20s flanker Maclean Jones will earn his first start for the Country side at blindside flanker, while Easts stalwart and Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) Education & Pathways Coordinator, Tyrell Barker, moves onto the bench.
In the backline, Rockhampton junior and Reds squad member Duncan Paia’aua comes into the starting line-up at inside centre.
Queensland Country pushed Melbourne Rising in their 39-31 loss at Bond University last Sunday and Gilmore has opted to make minimal changes to the 23-man squad with the short turnaround between games.
“With a short turnaround this week it was important to keep some consistency in the squad with limited preparation time,” Gilmore said.
“While we didn’t come away with the win against the Rising, the effort from the team was there and we’ll continue to build this week against the Stars.
“We had 14 players make their NRC debut last weekend and while untested at the NRC level, the players stepped up to the challenge and individually produced some great performances against a team with a fair number of Super Rugby players.
“We took a number of positives out of last week’s game. We had good attacking structure with the ball in hand and our set piece was really solid, namely the scrum.
“Obviously this week we’ve lost Saia but Campbell Wakely was originally named at hooker last week and is ready to get on the paddock. This is his second year in the NRC so he’s already got some experience at this level heading into Thursday’s game.
“With Maclean moving into the backrow, he has an existing combination with Cornelsen and Mitchell having all played at University throughout the year. Tyrell Barker who moves onto the bench is coming off the back of a great year with Easts and will relish the opportunity.”
Sydney Stars Head Coach Peter Playford has also named his side that will host the men from north of the border - with Dave Dennis and James Hanson both named in the starting line up. The Stars will look to go two from two in 2015 after seeing off the North Harbour Rays at Manly Oval last Saturday.
Catch all the action from Leichhardt Oval LIVE on FOX SPORTS 2, kick-off at 7:30pm.
1. Jeremy Tilse
2. James Hanson
3. Tom Robertson
4. Andrew Leota
5. Matt Philip
6. Dave Dennis
7. David Hickey (c)
8. Pat McCutcheon
9. Jake Gordon
10. Angus Roberts
11. Harry Jones
12. Andrew Robinson
13. Jim Stewart
14. Henry Clunes Ross
15. Tom Kingston
16. Tom Coolican
17. Al Ryan
18. Matt Sandell
19. Rohan O'Reagan
20. Ofa Finau
21. Richard Draper
22. Jordan McGregor
23. John Hales
Bond University Queensland Country
1. Haydn Hirsimaki – Sunnybank/Sunshine Coast
2. Campbell Wakely – University of Queensland/Gold Coast
3. Sef Fa’agase – Reds/University of Queensland/Beaudesert
4. Phil Potgieter – University of Queensland/Toowoomba
5. Richie Arnold – Bond University/Gold Coast
6. Maclean Jones – University of Queensland/St George
7. Conor Mitchell – University of Queensland/Sunshine Coast
8. Jack Cornelsen – University of Queensland/Gold Coast
9. James Tuttle – Reds/GPS (C)
10. Sam Greene – Reds/Brothers
11. Izaia Perese – Easts
12. Duncan Paia’aua – Reds/GPS/Rockhampton
13. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Reds/Souths
14. Tom Pincus – University of Queensland/Gold Coast
15. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi – Reds/University of Queensland
16. Alex Mafi – Reds/Bond University/Gold Coast
17. AJ Campbell – Easts/Gold Coast
18. Reuben Leilua – University of Queensland
19. Milton Sikuea – Bond University/Gold Coast
20. Tyrell Barker – Easts
21. Scott Gale – Reds/University of Queensland
22. Dion Taumata – Bond University/Gold Coast
23. Matt Gordon – Easts/Toowoomba