Watch National Rugby Championship NRC 2014 Live Canberra Vikings vs Perth Spirit match will be kick off at Viking Park, Erindale,Saturday 23 August 2014 online, Time 14:30 AEDT and its broadcast Online.
Canberra have been boosted by the sudden availability of Wallaby Christian Lealiifano, who should line up in midfield. I thought Robbie Coleman might make reappearance in midfield too, but he looks set to remain in the back three, along with Brumbies teammate Jesse Mogg.
Up front, the Smith twins – Jean-Pierre and Ruan – will pack down at loose and tighthead respectively, while Seilala ‘Lala’ Lam and Mitch Wade will battle it out for the hooking spot. Brumbies players remain throughout the pack, too, with Tom Staniforth, Jordan Smiler, and big Fotu Auelua – who’ll captain the Vikings from No.8 – all ready to rumble.
Canberra’s major backer is an anonymous philanthropist who asked the Vikings to donate the front and back of jersey space to charity. The Vikings yesterday announcing that the Snowy Hydro SouthCare rescue helicopter service and Lifeline Canberra will feature on the playing strip.
Perth are yet to name their side travelling to Canberra this weekend, but former Brumby Zack Holmes has been an early face of the Spirit in launching their jersey and should steer the side around in what will be a familiar settings.
Lock Rory Walton is another returning to the ACT for the Spirit’s opening match. The blond-haired, Canberra-born tight forward was a member of the Brumbies Academy in 2010, and gained a cult following during his first season of Super Rugby with the Western Force last year. This week he was named as among the Spirit’s ‘Standards Group’, alongside Kyle Godwin, Luke Morahan, Ian Prior, Heath Tessmann, and Sam Wykes.
The Spirit line-up is set to feature a healthy mix of local players from Perth’s Premier Grade and Western Force regulars, as the club expands the West’s playing base. Included in this are Western Australia’s four Australian Under-20 stars – Luke Burton (flyhalf), Brad Lacey (wing), Ross Haylett-Petty (No.8) and Harry Scoble (hooker) – who are expected to figure for the Spirit throughout the tournament.
Canberra Vikings : JP Smith (Brumbies/Queanbeyan), Mitch Wade (tba), Ruan Smith (Brumbies/Canberra Easts, Tim Cree (Tuggeranong), Tom Staniforth (Brumbies/Royals), Jordan Smiler (Brumbies/Canberra Easts), Jarrad Butler (Brumbies/Tuggeranong), Fotu Auelua (C – Western Districts), Michael Dowsett (Brumbies/Uni-Norths), Isaac Thompson (Tuggeranong), Robbie Coleman (Brumbies/Queanbeyan), Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies/Tuggeranong), Nigel Ah Wong (tba), Jerome Nuimata (Tuggeranong), Jesse Mogg (Brumbies/Wests).
Reserves: Seilala Lam (tba), Alan Ala’alatoa (Brumbies/Uni-Norths, Les Makin (Queanbeyan), Dave McKern (Wests), Sean Doyle (tba), Edan Campbell-O’Brien (Uni-Norths), Jake Rakic (Tuggeranong), Brendan Taueki (Tuggeranong).
Perth Spirit : Alec Hepburn (Cottesloe), Heath Tessmann (Nedlands), Oliver Hoskins (Cottesloe), Rory Walton (C) (Wests Scarborough), Brent Murphy (Perth Bayswater), Corey Thomas (UWA), Kane Koteka (Wests Scarborough), Alex Rovira (Associates), Justin Turner (Associates), Zack Holmes (Associates), Nili Fielea (Cottesloe), Luke Burton (UWA), Ammon Matuauto (Associates), Va’a Mailei (Palmyra), Dillyn Leyds (Palmyra)
Reserves: Harry Scoble (UWA), Joe Savage (Palmyra), Chris Heiberg (Perth Bayswater), Kieran Stringer (Cottesloe), Richard Hardwick (UWA), Michael Ruru (Nedlands), Davis Tavita (Nedlands), Daley Harper (Kalamunda).