With the National Rugby Championship just around the corner the University of Canberra Vikings are gearing up preparations for a tilt at the title.
To do so the side knows it will need to improve on last year’s performance. While the team finished with the third best defense in the competition, the Vikings finished with just two wins and two draws from eight matches.
Brumbies star and Vikings player Christian Lealiifano is confident of an improvement on last year.
“We’ve got a pretty good squad and hopefully there will be some good things this year for the team,” he said.
Joe Tomane, speaking from Wallabies camp on the Sunshine Coast says the experience gained from last season’s competition will be a boost for the side.
“I think we should go good, hopefully we can string a few wins together, especially down at home so we can turn it into a tough place to come,” Tomane said.
The Wallabies players are set to be unavailable for basically the entire NRC season due to the Rugby World Cup schedule, meaning other players will need to take on senior roles within the team.
Lealiifano is tipping a big year for one of his Brumbies teammates.
“Probably Lausii Taliauli. He’s a big strong winger. I think he’s very young and exciting, so look out for him,” Lealiifano said.
Tomane says he is tipping a big season for fellow Brumbies teammate Rod Iona.
In May the Vikings announced Brad Harris would be the side’s Head Coach this season.
Brumbies Forwards Coach and 2014 UC Vikings Head Coach, Dan McKellar, will move to the new role of Director of Rugby for the Brumbies, in the absence of Brumbies World Cup bound Head Coach, Stephen Larkham. As Director of Rugby McKellar will provide additional support for Harris and oversee the UC Vikings program, while also managing the off-season program for the Brumbies.
Along with McKellar and Harris, former Brumbies and Gungahlin Eagles prop, Dan Palmer will feature as forward’s coach while Wests Craig Robberds takes control of the backs.
The UC Vikings have the bye in Round One of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship and will play their first match of the season away against NSW Country Eagles on Saturday 29 August.
“I know for a fact that each player is looking forward to being a part of their respective NRC club. Coupled with the fact we’ll have hungry club players looking to impress and Super Rugby representatives going up against each other, this season is shaping up to be one to remember.”
The UC Vikings full playing is expected to be announced next week.
The Vikings will play four home matches during the season at Viking Park. The first will be a Round Three matchup against the Greater Sydney Rams on Saturday, 5 September (2pm).