The University of Canberra Vikings have named their squad to contest the 2014 NRC with players selected from all seven of the ACT’s Premier Grade Clubs.
As well as 16 full-time UC Brumbies, the UC Vikings will also call on 17 club players.
Young guns Liam Slater, Tom Staniforth (Royals), Rowan Perry, Jake Rakic and Joe Powell (Tuggeranong) are set to make their professional debuts for the UC Vikings, guided by old heads like Fotu Auelua and Jordan Smiler.
Wallabies Joe Tomane, Pat McCabe, Christian Lealiifano, Sam Carter and Pat McCabe have also been named as UC Vikings in 2014 and will feature for the side should they not have international commitments. The same can be said for Wallaby-in-waiting Henry Speight, who’s been sent back to Canberra to rehab a hamstring strain suffered against the Waratahs.
It’s the UC Vikings first professional squad since the Australian Rugby Championship in 2007 where the side finished sixth, outside the playoffs.
Head Coach Dan McKellar said he was hopeful of a better finish this time aorund, with a good spread of club and professional players to call on throughout the squad.
“It’s an exciting time for Australian rugby with the evolution of a third tier, which will inevitably give our Super Rugby and national sides more to work with,” McKellar said.
“In Canberra we find ourselves in a unique situation with one of Australia’s best domestic competitions in the John I Dent Cup and its most consistent professional side in the Brumbies, so we’ve been spoiled for choice in the squad we’ve been able to select.
“There were some difficult decisions to make and some quality players have missed out, but I think mixing young guys like Rowan Perry and Joe Powell with Fotu Auelua and Robbie Coleman will only improve their game and give us something to think about as Brumbies coaches later down the track.”
The UC Vikings first of four homes games is on Saturday, 23 August at Viking Park against Perth Spirit. Ticking information will be released soon.
UC Vikings Squad
Ruan Smith (Eastern Suburbs)
Allan Alaalatoa (Uni-Norths Owls)
Les Makin (Queanbeyan Whites)
Siliva Siliva (Royals)
Seilala Lam (TBA)
Mitch Wade (TBA)
JP Smith (Queanbeyan Whites)
Scott Sio (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Sione Taula (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Sam Carter (Royals)
Tom Staniforth (Royals)
Dave McKern (Western Districts Lions)
Gareth Clouston (Tuggeranong Vikings)
(One more TBA)
Fotu Auelua (Western Districts Lions)
Tim Cree (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Jordan Smiler (Eastern Suburbs)
Jarrad Butler (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Sean Doyle (TBA)
Rowan Perry (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Michael Dowsett (Uni-Norths Owls)
Joe Powell (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Rod Iona (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Isaac Thompson (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Henry Speight (Gungahlin Eagles)
Joe Tomane (Uni-Norths Owls)
Jerome Nuimata (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Drew Southwell (Western Districts Lions)
Liam Slater (Royals)
Christian Lealiifano (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Matt Hawke (Gungahlin Eagles)
Pat McCabe (Western Districts Lions)
Nigel Ahwong (TBA)
Jake Rakic (Tuggeranong Vikings)
Robbie Coleman (Queanbeyan Whites)
Jesse Mogg (Western Districts)
Brendon Taueki (Tuggeranong Vikings)