Excitement machine Sefa Naivalu is back to light-up season three of the Buildcorp NRC.
Named in a 33-man squad for Melbourne Rising, the lightening-quick 24-year-old broke his leg in a tour of South Africa last year, missing the 2015 competition.
He also missed the start of the 2016 Super Rugby season for the Melbourne Rebels but didn’t take to long to hit top form, scoring five tries in as five games in the back-half of the season.
The outstanding performances put Naivalu firmly on Michael Cheika’s radar although he’s unavailable for Wallabies selection until September because of his Fijian heritage.
Like Naivalu, Wallabies squad member Reece Hodge has also been named for the Rising, the pair a glowing endorsement of the pathways provided by the Builcorp NRC to top-level Rugby.
Head coach Zane Hilton full of praise for the competition.
“The NRC is exciting for players and fans alike, the nature of the tournament offers promising aspirants a national stage to compete while encouraging attacking, expansive rugby,” he said.
The Rising have made consecutive semi-finals in the first two seasons of the competition, Hilton hopeful of making the decider in 2016.
"We have developed a competitive rugby culture in the Rising off the back of the strong local club history in Melbourne and are excited about what the third season of the NRC will bring."
The side’s first game is against Perth Spirit at UWA Sports Park on August 29.
Cruze Ah Nau, Steve Cummins, Jack Debreczeni, Murray Douglas, Tom English, Colby Fainga’a, Harley Fox, Reece Hodge, Sam Jeffries, Lloyd Johansson, Pat Leafa, Taiso Silafai-Leaana, Rob Leota, Tyrel Lomax, Jack Maddocks, Ben Meehan, Tim Metcher, Tom Moloney, Sefa Naivalu, Jonah Placid, Fereti Sa’aga, Dom Shipperley , Siliva Siliva, Mick Snowden, Nic Stirzaker, Alex Toolis, Sione Taufa, Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano, Sione Tuipulotu, Jordan Uelese
Wallabies Marquee Players: James Hanson, Sean McMahon, Toby Smith