Brisbane City head coach Jim McKay has named his side to take on defending premiers the Fijian Drua in Round 1 of the 2019 National Rugby Championship (NRC) at GPS Rugby Club on Saturday.
Up to seven players will make their NRC debut, while another seven will run on for their first game in Brisbane City colours this weekend.
After leading the Junior Wallabies to a Grand Final appearance at the World Rugby U20s Championships in Argentina this year, flanker Fraser McReight has been named to captain the side.
Brisbane City head coach Jim McKay said: “There’s been a lot of work on and off the field from our staff and players in what has been a short preparation for this competition and we’re looking forward to our first opportunity to represent Brisbane City this Saturday.
“It’s going to be a really big day at GPS with the club’s junior breakup, so it should be a fantastic occasion with a really good crowd at Ashgrove.
“The NRC is a vehicle for players to showcase what they can do at the next level, and in our team, we’ve got a lot of outstanding club players who really deserve their opportunity.
“14 players out of our 23 can potentially make their Brisbane City debut, which shows that this competition is a way to reward players for their club form and it’s a really integral part of our development pathway.
“Seru Uru has played very well for Easts this year and recently signed with the Reds, so he’s got an important role to play for us.
“Teti Tela has shown some really strong leadership skills for us so far, and after not getting a lot of game time with the Reds this year, has a great opportunity in this competition.
“Our captain Fraser is only 20-years-old but is captain of a men’s team which says a lot about his leadership and future in the game.
“We’re playing against the current champions and we know the Fijians will play an exciting, attacking brand of Rugby and we’re really looking forward to it,” said McKay.
Rising star Isaac Lucas will make his NRC debut at flyhalf for City after a successful rookie season with the St.George Queensland Reds, with Moses Sorovi partnering him in the halves.
Centre pairing Tela and Hunter Paisami will both play their first games for City, while wingers Sefa Naivalu and Liam McNamara will also record their first caps for the side, as Lawson Creighton returns for Brisbane City at fullback.
Fresh from a Newstead Brewing Hospital Challenge Cup victory with University of Queensland, Josh Nasser will start in the frontrow beside the experienced heads of Ruan Smith and Brandon Paenga-Amosa.
In the secondrow, Rob Puliuvea will play his first game for City alongside Ryan Smith who will also make his NRC debut, while Brothers duo McReight and Michael Wood make up the backrow with debutant Uru at number eight.
Off the bench, Rhys van Nek, Dane Zander, Nick Chapman and Isaac Henry all have the opportunity to make their NRC debuts, with Brad Kapa could also play his first game for Brisbane City.
Sean Farrell, Adam Korczyk and Sam Wallis round out the 23 and will be hoping to add to their current tally of City caps.
Brisbane City will take on the Fijian Drua at 3:00PM on Saturday August 31 at GPS Rugby Club, Ashgrove. The fixture will be shown LIVE on rugby.com.au and Kayo Sports.
Brisbane City team to play Fjian Drua at 3:00PM (AEST) Sunday August 31 – GPS Rugby Club, Yoku Road, Ashgrove
Ruan Smith – GPS
Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank
Josh Nasser – University of Queensland
Ryan Smith – Brothers**
Rob Puliuvea – Wests*
Michael Wood – Brothers*
Fraser McReight – Brothers
Seru Uru – Easts**
Moses Sorovi – Wests
Isaac Lucas – Sunnybank**
Liam McNamara – Sunnybank*
Teti Tela – Souths*
Hunter Paisami – Wests*
Sefa Naivalu – Norths*
Lawson Creighton – Brothers
Sean Farrell – Souths
Rhys van Nek – Easts***
Dane Zander – Norths***
Bradford Kapa – Brothers****
Adam Korcyzk – University of Queensland
Sam Wallis – University of Queensland
Nick Chapman – Norths***
Isaac Henry – Wests***
* denotes Brisbane City debut
** denotes Brisbane City and NRC debut
*** denotes potential Brisbane City and NRC debut
**** denotes potential Brisbane City debut