Opportunity awaits local lads in ACT rep showdown

ACT XV Head Coach Craig Robberds will assemble a strong squad to take on the Brumbies this Friday night at Viking Park, with all John I Dent Cup players available for the fixture.

On the back of a successful 2012 campaign, the ACT XV pre-season clash has taken special significance for the local players as they go head-to-head with fulltime professionals. This year players like Robbie Abel, Tom Staniforth, Andrew Barrell, Sam Windsor and Matt Hawke will bolster the ACT side, having been part of the University of Canberra Brumbies pre-season since October last year.

With the Super Rugby season just weeks away and free entry on offer for the only Brumbies Rugby trial match played in Canberra in 2013, the players are expecting a big crowd to gather at Viking Park on Friday night.

One ACT local certain to rock up on Friday night is Gungahlin Eagles flyer Barrell, who will line up on the wing for the representative clash. Now in his seventh season of grade rugby with Gungahlin having graduated through the ranks at Daramalan, Barrell is preparing to defend one of the most dangerous backlines in Super Rugby.

The 25 year old, outside back said it was an exciting time of year for all of the ACT’s rugby players.

“The ACT XV has certainly provided some excitement about the upcoming season for all the local players. It’s not every day you get a chance to have a crack at a professional side like the Brumbies and all our guys will be up for it on Friday night,” Barrell said.

“I’ve played rugby in the ACT since I was a kid, so I’ve been lucky enough to play with and against a lot of the guys on the ACT XV side and the Brumbies. It’s always exciting coming up against good players. It gives you a chance to see where you’re up to and what you need to work on.

“The forecast looks good for a clear evening on Friday night and with free entry we’re hoping a big crowd will get out to Viking Park. This game has attracted its fair share of hype over the last couple of years and any supporters who were there last year got right behind the club players. We’re hoping for more of the same on Friday night.”

ACT XV v University of Canberra Brumbies
Viking Park, Wanniassa
Kick-off: 7pm

Craig Robberds
ACT XV Head Coach: 2013
Player (Western Districts): 1995-2005
Premierships: 1996, 2001, 2002, 2005
Head Coach (Western Districts): 2007-2013

Andrew Barrell
POS: Wing
DOB: 4/5/1987
Playing record:  Gungahlin Eagles 1st Grade 2007-2013
                          ACT XV 2012-2013
                          ACT Schoolboys 2005

1 Sione Taula/JP Pradaud
2 Robbie Abel/Nick Dobson
3 Les Makin/Ray Dobson
4 Gareth Clouston/Rikki Waitao 
5 Tom Staniforth
6 Jordan Smiler/Tim Donnellan 
7 Josh Hitchins/Michael Smith
8 Tim Cree /Xavier Duffy
9 Mark Swanepoel/Beau Mokotupu
10 Sam Windsor/Gus McKercher
11 Tom Cox/Tom Ruediger
12 Rod Iona
13 Matt Hawke/Mitch Connolly
14 Stefan Van Der Walt/ Andrew Barrell
15 Brendan Tueaki/Ben Johnson