Plenty at stake in annual Subbies v NSW Country clash

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By NSW Rugby Union

This Saturday will see the GrainCorp NSW Country Cockatoos face off against the New South Wales Suburban Rugby Union at ANZ Stadium in Homebush, Sydney.
The annual fixture will serve as a curtain raiser for the HSBC Waratahs' Super Rugby clash against the conference-leading Brumbies. With two back to back games on offer, the evening promises to be a festival of free-flowing rugby with some of New South Wales’ best young talent on display.
Having lost their last two encounters with Subbies, Country will be looking to reverse their fortunes come the final whistle on Saturday. 
Coached by Col Jeffs and led by Camden’s Gavin Holder, there’s plenty to motivate the Country side.  The game will also act as a last chance for players to be considered for selection for the Combined Country (NSW Country and Queensland Country) side to take on the British & Irish Lions on June 11 at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle. 
“Every game up until this point has been a trial in some regard but as a squad we're not concentrating on selection for the Lions match and all of our focus will be on coming away with the win at the weekend,” said Holder. “Subbies have got the best of us in the last couple of years so we're looking to get one back over them and put country on the front page.
“Coming into the game we're trying to bounce back from the draw against Queensland. We didn't play to our full potential in that game but we had a pretty good run out against the Rebels so we're trying to get that consistency back into our game.
“We know it'll be a physical game, as it has been the last few years, and we'll be looking to play a bit more direct, be strong in the contact area around the rucks and hopefully come away with the win,” Holder added.
The Subbies team, coached by Damon Baffico, will be hoping for a repeat of last year's result which saw the representative side walk away with the coveted Maher-Ross Cup after downing Country 27 – 22 on the night.
Captained by the Colleagues’ Dan Kelly, the Subbies squad features a blend of youth and experience with former Australia Sevens player Vinny Byrne and long-serving 2002 debutant Jake Havebond both returning to the side alongside Knox Under-21 player Richard Woolf, who starts on the wing.
“The Subbies representative team presents a great opportunity for our guys to showcase their skills at a higher level of rugby than what we see each weekend,” said Kelly. “It really is an honour to be asked to captain the side, given the abilities of its individual players, but what's particularly special to me about this team is that it represents the ultimate reason we play rugby: because we love it.
“This year's squad contains many of last year's faces, though there are a few new blokes who will really add to our strengths. Richard Woolf, for example, is still of colts age but starts on wing and has pace to burn. He's definitely got a bright future ahead of him and will be one to watch in the coming years.
“The game against Country is always really physical and the last couple of years have been particularly tight contest. I expect Saturday's game to be no different. There will be limited opportunities in attack but, as per the last couple of years, with some good execution and a little bit of luck, we'll end up on top,” Kelly added.
The Cockatoos meanwhile head into the showpiece fixture following a hard-fought, 24-all draw against the Queensland Country Heelers on May 4.
Prop John Adams has been added to the bench while halfback Paul Dan, who was selected for the Rebels Rising game in April, returns to the side.
The game is being played as the curtain raiser to the HSBC Waratahs’ Round 14 Super Rugby match against the Brumbies at ANZ Stadium this Saturday, May 18 and kicks off at 5.15pm.  To purchase tickets for the HSBC Waratahs v Brumbies game (which include the curtain raiser) visit
Alternatively, follow @subbiesrugby on Twitter for real time updates of the match.
Players listed with their Zones and Clubs
1.       Dylan EVANS (Western Plains, Warren)
2.       Peter NAU (Central West, Dubbo Roos)
3.       Joel DIGGINS (Illawarra, Vikings)
4.       Gavin HOLDER (captain, Illawarra, Camden)
5.       Va TALAILEVA (Newcastle/Hunter, Southern Beaches)
6.       Jeff WILSON (Far North Coast, Lennox Head)
7.       Alex BURNHEIM (Western Plains, Coonamble)
8.       Paul TUALA (Illawarra, University)
9.       Adam McCORMACK (Mid North Coast, Vikings)
10.   Ben GREENTREE (Illawarra, Camden)
11.   Eli SINOTI (Illawarra, Avondale)
12.   Jade GARDINER (Illawarra, University)
13.   Lewie CATT (Newcastle/Hunter, Wanderers)
14.   Filisone PAUTA (Central West, Dubbo Rhinos)
15.   Don NEPIA (Illawarra, University)
16.   Hori LEEF (Illawarra, University)
17.   John ADAMS (Central North, Moree)
18.   Dan RYAN (Central West, Parkes)
19.   Bradd SHERIDAN (Central Coast, Ourimbah)
20.   Paul DAN (Newcastle/Hunter, Hamilton)
21.   Ben HARRISS (Newcastle/Hunter, Hamilton)
22.   Dudley PARSONS (Far North Coast, Lismore)
23.   Kevin McNAMARA (Central Coast, Warnervale)
Coach: Col Jeffs  
Assistant Coach: Mark Giacheri           
1.   John MASON (Balmain)               
2.   Bill JOHNSTON (Colleagues)
3.  Tony BARRY (Colleagues)
4.  Glen PACKER (Campbeltown)
5   Trent SUTTON (Balmain)
6.  Matthew BATTISHALL (Oatley)
7.  Craig THOMAS (Brothers)
8.  Adam CHOICE (Campbeltown)
9.  Vinny BYRNE (Brothers)
10. Dan KELLY (captain, Colleagues)
11. Larry HERMENS (St Patrick’s)
12. Alex MILES (Mosman)
13. Perofeta SILVA (St Patrick’s)
14. Richard WOOLF (Knox)
15. Ben BORG (Brothers)
16. John FONOKALAFI (Balmain)
17. Brendan FOGARTY (St Patrick’s)
18. Lefu IAOPO (Petersham)
19. Sevanaia ROKOBARO (Drummoyne)
20. Jake WAINWRIGHT (Balmain)
21. Simon MEIKLEJOHN (Mosman)
22. Michael BLACK (Brothers)
23. Jake HAVEBOND (Drummoyne)
Coach: Damon Baffico       
Assistant Coach: Kristian Berghofer         
Referee: Michael Hogan

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