The University of Canberra Vikings will field a side mixed with youth and experience in the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship Grand Final.
The UC Vikings take on defending champs Brisbane City at Ballymore on Saturday 31 October, and the match will feature a host of players with Wallabies and Super Rugby experience.
In a boost for the UC Vikings heading into the decider, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin will return to the bench after missing the win over Melbourne last week through an ankle injury.
The only other change to the side from last week is the return of try-scoring winger Jerome Niumata, who replaces the injured Lausii Taliauli. Taliauli has been ruled out of the decider after fracturing his scapula (shoulder) against the Rising.
Niumata, the Tuggeranong Vikings flyer who has earnt the nickname “Superman” this season due to his acrobatic diving, has missed the UC Vikings past three matches including the 10 October loss to Brisbane City at Viking Park.
Albert Anae has been named on the bench after limping from the field with a knee injury suffered in the win over the Rising. The UC Vikings hooker scored a crucial try last time the UC Vikings took on Brisbane City.
The UC Vikings will be hoping Christian Lealiifano’s form from the semi-final win over Melbourne Rising continues. The Brumbies playmaker was named man of the match after making a number of damaging runs in the semi-final.
Ben Alexander, who scored his first NRC try in the semi-final win over Melbourne, maintains his spot in the starting side for the matchup with Brisbane City. His battle in the front row with Petowa Paraka was one of the feature matchups the last time the two sides met.
On that occasion, the defending champs outlasted a fast-finishing UC Vikings 37-31 at Viking Park.
The Grand Final will be the third matchup between the two sides. City has won both previous encounters.
The UC Vikings will be out to claim a maiden NRC title when they take on Brisbane City at Ballymore on Saturday 31 October. Kick-off for the Grand Final is 3pm local time, 4pm Canberra time.
The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 502.
UC Vikings side to play Brisbane City in the Buildcorp NRC Grand Final:
1. Allan Alaalatoa
2. Robbie Abel
3. Ben Alexander
4. Rory Arnold
5. Blake Enever
6. Dean Oakman-Hunt
7. Jarrad Butler (c)
8. Ita Vaea
9. Joe Powell
10. Christian Lealiifano
11. Jerome Niumata
12. Rodney Iona
13. Nigel Ah Wong
14. James Dargaville
15. Isaac Thompson
16. Albert Anae
17. Sione Taula
18. Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin
19. Michael Oakman-Hunt
20. Rowan Perry
21. Brent Hamlin
22. Mitch Third
23. Francis Fainifo