NRC: Wallabies fever for Rising v Queensland Country

by Marty Cambridge

These two sides were highly fancied ahead of season three of the Buildcorp NRC but both lost their season openers last weekend and will be keen to atone when they clash at Harlequins Park on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides will have plenty of Wallabies experience for round two, the Rising have named Toby Smith, James Hanson and Lopeti Timani, while Queensland Country have called on the services of James Slipper and Rob Simmons. 

Toby Smith is one of three players returning from the Wallabies travelling squad. Photo: Getty Images.“We’re disappointed by the loss to the Spirit last weekend but the players will grow from the experience, especially those who stepped up to make their Melbourne Rising debuts,” Hilton said.

“The return of Toby, James and Lopeti not only provides a huge boost for our forwards this weekend but their professionalism has been a valuable development opportunity for our wider squad this week at training.”

Sunday's clash will be Slipper’s first ever NRC game while Simmons made his debut in the loss to the Vikings in round one.

“Slipper has played over 70 Test matches for the Wallabies and is the current captain of the Reds,” head coach Toutai Kefu said.

“He’ll add a lot to the side on and off the field this weekend.”

James Slipper was playing against the All Blacks for the Wallabies last weekend. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyKefu’s made a total of six changes to the first round side and has included Australian Under-20s representative Liam McNamara.

“McNamara was a late call up for the Australian U20s ahead of this year’s Junior World Cup and started in all of their matches, before helping Sunnybank claim the Premier Colts title,” Kefu said.

“He’s an exciting young prospect to bring into the team.”

Round two of the NRC coincides with the #Pass4Prostate campaign which will raise awareness for prostate cancer.

Players from the home team will wear pale blue socks while Astellas Pharma Australia will contribute $10,000 to the cause.

Melbourne Rising

(Starting 1-15): Cruz Ah Nau, Pat Leafa, Tim Metcher, Sam Jeffries, Steve Cummins, Rob Leota, Jordy Reid, Harley Fox, Nic Stirzaker, Jack Debreczeni, Tom English, Sione Tuipulotu, Sefa Naivalu, Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano, Jonah Placid.

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Tom Moloney, Tyrel Lomax, Alex Toolis, Ikapote Tupai, Ben Meehan, Lloyd Johansson, Taiso Silafai-Leaana.

Queensland Country

(Starting 1-15): James Slipper, Alex Casey, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodder, Rob Simmons, Apisai Naiyabo, Conor Mitchell, Lolo Fakaosilea, James Tuttle, Mack Mason, Eto Nabuli, Tyrone Lefau, Izaia Perese, Liam McNamara, Tom Banks.

Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Ben Daley, Sef Fa’agase, Phil Potgieter, Tyrell Barker, Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa, Mitch Third, Josh Birch.

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