NRC: Stars and Queensland Country announce sides for TV clash

by Rugby Australia

Bond University Queensland Country head coach Jason Gilmore has made three changes to his side ahead of Country’s Round 2 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) match against the Sydney Stars at Leichardt Oval tomorrow night (Thursday).

With last week’s late inclusion, St.George Queensland Reds hooker Saia Fainga’a, unavailable due to selection in the Barbarians squad, Campbell Wakely returns to the starting side at hooker.

In the backrow Jack Cornelsen moves to Number 8 in place of Radike Samo who is unavailable for Thursday night’s match. Australian Under-20s flanker Maclean Jones will earn his first start for the Country side at blindside flanker, while Easts stalwart and Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) Education & Pathways Coordinator, Tyrell Barker, moves onto the bench.

In the backline, Rockhampton junior and Reds squad member Duncan Paia’aua comes into the starting line-up at inside centre.

Queensland Country pushed Melbourne Rising in their 39-31 loss at Bond University last Sunday and Gilmore has opted to make minimal changes to the 23-man squad with the short turnaround between games.

“With a short turnaround this week it was important to keep some consistency in the squad with limited preparation time,” Gilmore said.

“While we didn’t come away with the win against the Rising, the effort from the team was there and we’ll continue to build this week against the Stars.

“We had 14 players make their NRC debut last weekend and while untested at the NRC level, the players stepped up to the challenge and individually produced some great performances against a team with a fair number of Super Rugby players.

“We took a number of positives out of last week’s game. We had good attacking structure with the ball in hand and our set piece was really solid, namely the scrum.

“Obviously this week we’ve lost Saia but Campbell Wakely was originally named at hooker last week and is ready to get on the paddock. This is his second year in the NRC so he’s already got some experience at this level heading into Thursday’s game.

“With Maclean moving into the backrow, he has an existing combination with Cornelsen and Mitchell having all played at University throughout the year. Tyrell Barker who moves onto the bench is coming off the back of a great year with Easts and will relish the opportunity.”

Sydney Stars Head Coach Peter Playford has also named his side that will host the men from north of the border - with Dave Dennis and James Hanson both named in the starting line up. The Stars will look to go two from two in 2015 after seeing off the North Harbour Rays at Manly Oval last Saturday.

Catch all the action from Leichhardt Oval LIVE on FOX SPORTS 2,  kick-off at 7:30pm.

Sydney Stars 

1. Jeremy Tilse

2. James Hanson

3. Tom Robertson

4. Andrew Leota

5. Matt Philip

6. Dave Dennis

7. David Hickey (c)

8. Pat McCutcheon

9. Jake Gordon

10. Angus Roberts

11. Harry Jones

12. Andrew Robinson

13. Jim Stewart

14. Henry Clunes Ross

15. Tom Kingston


16. Tom Coolican

17. Al Ryan

18. Matt Sandell

19. Rohan O'Reagan

20. Ofa Finau

21. Richard Draper

22. Jordan McGregor

23. John Hales

Bond University Queensland Country

1. Haydn Hirsimaki – Sunnybank/Sunshine Coast

2. Campbell Wakely – University of Queensland/Gold Coast 

3. Sef Fa’agase – Reds/University of Queensland/Beaudesert 

4. Phil Potgieter – University of Queensland/Toowoomba

5. Richie Arnold – Bond University/Gold Coast

6. Maclean Jones – University of Queensland/St George

7. Conor Mitchell – University of Queensland/Sunshine Coast

8. Jack Cornelsen – University of Queensland/Gold Coast

9. James Tuttle – Reds/GPS (C) 

10. Sam Greene – Reds/Brothers

11. Izaia Perese – Easts

12. Duncan Paia’aua – Reds/GPS/Rockhampton 

13. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Reds/Souths

14. Tom Pincus – University of Queensland/Gold Coast

15. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi – Reds/University of Queensland


16. Alex Mafi – Reds/Bond University/Gold Coast

17. AJ Campbell – Easts/Gold Coast

18. Reuben Leilua – University of Queensland

19. Milton Sikuea – Bond University/Gold Coast

20. Tyrell Barker – Easts

21. Scott Gale – Reds/University of Queensland

22. Dion Taumata – Bond University/Gold Coast 

23. Matt Gordon – Easts/Toowoomba