NRC: Lealiifano and Alexander named to start against Rams in NRC

by Rugby Australia

Christian Lealiifano returns to the fold for the Vikings this weekend (Image: Getty)

The University of Canberra Vikings has named Wallabies representatives Christian Lealiifano and Ben Alexander in the starting XV for the team’s first home match of 2015 against the Greater Sydney Rams at Viking Park on Saturday.

Lealiifano has been named at fullback, after last week representing the Barbarians in London against Samoa. Two weeks prior to that match Lealiifano put in an impressive performance for the World XV in Japan against the Cherry Blossoms.

The 27-year old represented the UC Vikings in three Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) matches in 2014, including the round two 37-18 win over the Rams in Sydney.

He played his 100th match for the Aquis Brumbies during the 2015 Super Rugby season and was named the side’s Best Back at the annual Brumby Ball.

Lealiifano replaces Isaac Thompson at fullback who has been ruled out with a foot injury after crossing for one try and kicking 4/4 conversions in last week’s 37-13 win over NSW Country Eagles at Woollahra Oval, Sydney.

Alexander, who also played his 100th match for the Brumbies in 2015, made his NRC debut from the reserves list last week.

The most-capped prop in Wallabies history will make his run-on debut for the Vikings, replacing Leslie Leulua'iali’i-Makin in the front row. Leulua'iali’i-Makin has been named on the Vikings reserves list.

In the only other change listed, Vikings fans will get their first chance to see speedy fullback/winger Aidan Toua, who has been named on the bench.

Toua, a former Queensland Reds player, has relocated to the nation’s capital from a one-year stint in France and will be using the NRC to press his claims for the starting fullback spot with the Brumbies in 2016. Toua replaces Mitch Third who has been named at flyhalf for the ACT Griffins, who will take on Greater Sydney Rams Development Team in a curtain-raiser for the Vikings v Rams NRC match at Viking Park.

UC Vikings Head Coach Brad Harris has left the remainder of the team unchanged from the side that came away with a bonus point victory against the Eagles last week.

A tight match is expected with the Rams coming into the game fresh off the bye. The Greater Sydney side went down in its opening match of the season against the Eagles in round one, going down by one point 32-31.

Gates open at 11:30 for Saturday’s first NRC match at Viking Park for 2015. The ACT Griffins match will kick-off at 12:15pm with the main game getting underway at 2pm.  If you can't make the game you can catch all the action LIVE on or FOX SPORTS Now.

University of Canberra Vikings to play the Greater Sydney Rams:

1. Allan Alaalatoa

2. Robbie Abel

3. Ben Alexander

4. Rory Arnold

5. Blake Enever

6. Jordan Smiler                                               

7. Jarrad Butler (c)                          

8. Ita Vaea                                                          

9. Joe Powell                                      

10. Rodney Iona                                              

11. Lausii Taliuali                                              

12. James Dargaville       

13. Nigel Ah Wong                          

14. Jerome Niumata       

15. Christian Lealiifano

16. Connal McInerney

17. Sione Taula

18. Leslie Leuluai’ali’i-Makin

19. Dean Oakman-Hunt

20. Rowan Perry

21. Brent Hamlin

22. Aidan Toua

23. Frankie Fainifo

Greater Sydney Rams side to play the UC Vikings:

1 Jed Gillespie

2 Hugh Roach

3 Sam Needs

4 Fili Tufui

5 Peter Altona

6 Jono Hayes

7 Cohen Masson

8 Bradford Kapa

9 Dewet Roos 

10 Jai Ayoub

11 Brad Curtis

12 Michael McDougall

13 Dennis Godinet

14 Nick Batger

15 Paul Asquith

16 Cam Orr

17 Siliva Siliva

18 Barnaby Abdale-Weir

19 Will Munro

20 Bahboni Vasacayo

21 Taylor Adams

22 Rohan Saifoloi

23 Brendan Hartmann