Watch National Rugby Championship NRC 2014 Live Melbourne Rising vs North Harbour Rays match will be kick off at AAMI park, Melbourne,Sunday 24 August 2014 online, Time 14:00 AEDT and its broadcast Online.
My Melbourne sources tell me that there’s not a whole lot of Super Rugby experience in the Melbourne Rising midfield. Wallabies squad member Tom English will most likely stay on the wing, which is where Ewen McKenzie wants him for The Rugby Championship.
Little-known Fijian Sefanaia Naivalu may play 12 or 13 alongside Mitch Inman, and my spies can barely contain their excitement when they talk about him. He was the top point scorer in Melbourne’s Dewar Shield this year with 17 tries, and apparently runs the 100m in 10.50 seconds. Get the ball to him in space!
Nic Stirzaker and Jack Debreczeni is the likely halves combo, with Stirzaker to captain the Rising, and Debreczeni seen as the long-term flyhalf for the Rebels as well. Luke Jones may get a chance to play in the backrow, with Sean McMahon not yet available after returning from the Commonwealth Games.
The North Harbour Rays – reigning ARC Champions, as they like to point out – have named a side which includes five players with Super Rugby experience, including giant lock Greg Peterson, who will captain the Rays after only just joining the side this week. Peterson had been weighing up a number of offers from around the country and overseas, but has elected to play the NRC.
The Rays also have one player with Test experience – reserve back Sam VaeVae, who has played for the Cook Islands, and has had a strong season with Manly.
“We’ve had our challenges with the weather in Sydney and having players overseas with the Waratahs, but it’s good to name a team and aim towards Sunday,” Rays head coach Geoff Townsend said this week. “All our four member clubs have players in the 23-man squad that will travel to Melbourne which is great.”
Melbourne Rising name their side to face North Harbour at 10am AEST this morning.
North Harbour Rays : Mitch Lewis (Manly), Luke Holmes (VC – Warringah), Nick Fraser (Gordon), Ed Gower (Manly), Greg Peterson (C – Manly), Michael Wells (Northern Suburbs), Harry Bergelin (Manly), Sam Ward (Warringah), Matt Lucas (Manly), Hamish Angus (Warringah), Sireli Tagicakibau (Warringah), Tom Matthews (Gordon), Brian Sefanaia (Manly), Cam Crawford (Northern Suburbs), David Feltscheer (Warringah).
Reserves: Dave Porecki (Manly), Kevin McNamara (Northern Suburbs), bench prop tba, Ryan Melrose (Manly), Kotoni Ale (Manly), Josh Holmes (Warringah), Sam VaeVae (Manly), Michael Adams (Warringah).
Melbourne Rising : Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels), Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels – Vice Captain), Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels), Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels), Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels), Luke Jones (Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels), Sione Taufa (Harlequin), Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels), Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels – Captain), Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels), Tom English (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels), Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain), Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill), Telusa Veainu (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels), Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
Reserves: Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels), Tuiatua Tuia (Moorabbin), Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels), OJ Noa (Harlequin), Reuben Rolleston (Endeavour Hills), Ben Meehan (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels), Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin), Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)