Bond University Queensland Country head coach Rod Seib has made four changes to his match-day 23 ahead of their first home game of the 2019 National Rugby Championship (NRC) season against the Canberra Vikings this Sunday at Bond University.
Two changes have been made to the starting XV ahead of Sunday’s double header, which will also see Brisbane City play Sydney at Bond at 1:00pm, prior to Country’s clash with Canberra at 3:00pm.
St.George Queensland Reds prop Harry Hoopert will earn his first start for 2019, having come off the bench in Perth last weekend in what was his first game back since the Reds win over the Blues in Auckland back in June. Hoopert’s return to the starting fold sees George Francis shift to the reserves.
Having made his NRC debut off the bench last weekend, young Sunshine Coast product Carter Gordon will steer the side from flyhalf this week in his first start for Country.
In the reserves, two of Bond University’s own - prop Gav Luka and centre Dan Boardman – are in line for their potential NRC and Queensland Country debuts on their home field.
Head coach Rod Seib said: “Heading into this weekend’s clash we’ve been able to keep relatively consistent with our selections, which is always a positive.
“It’s great to see Harry (Hoopert) return to the starting line-up this week, he was a big part of our 2018 campaign last year and has been working hard to get over his injury concerns at the back end of the Super Rugby season.
“Carter Gordon gets his opportunity this weekend. He was in great form for Wests throughout the Premier Rugby season this year and he’ll have the chance to impress at the next level on Sunday.
“For Gav (Luka) and Dan (Boardman), their inclusion in the squad this week is just reward for the effort they have put in.
“Gav was a late call up to Country bench for the 2017 grand final and didn’t get on in that match, and then injury last year prevented him from making his debut in 2018 so this weekend’s game has been a long time coming for him.
“Dan was part of our squad last year and didn’t get the chance to make his debut, but put in another solid year of club Rugby for Bond and is deserving of the chance to earn his first start at his home club.
“Obviously losing by one-point last weekend (50-49) wasn’t an ideal start, but we’ve gone away and worked on the various aspects of our game we needed to improve, particularly our defence.
“Canberra were impressive last weekend against the Melbourne Rising and will be one of the competition’s frontrunners this season, so we have a challenge on our hands this week, but one the team are looking forward to taking on.”
Queensland Country will play the Canberra Vikings at Bond University this Sunday, September 8, kicking off at 3:00pm (AEST). Brisbane City will also be in action at Bond, playing Sydney at 1:00pm prior to Country’s match. The games will be streamed LIVE via rugby.com.au and Kayo.
Bond University Queensland Country team to face the Canberra Vikings:
1. Harry Hoopert - Brothers/Jondaryn
2. Matt Faessler - Brothers/Toowoomba
3. Carter Ozanne - Easts
4. Harry Hockings - University of Queensland/Bowen
5. Angus Blyth - Bond University/Gold Coast
6. Angus Scott-Young (c) - University of Queensland
7. Dillon Wihongi - Sunnybank
8. Harry Wilson - Brothers/Esk
9. Tate McDermott - University of Queensland/Sunshine Coast
10. Cater Gordon* – Wests/Sunshine Coast
11. Joey Fittock - Bond University/Gold Coast
12. Hamish Stewart - Bond University/Toowoomba
13. Patrick James - Brothers
14. Filipo Daugunu - Wests
15. Jock Campbell - University of Queensland/Gold Coast
16. George Francis
* Denotes starting debut
17. Bronson Fotuali’i-Tauakipulu - Wests
18. Gavin Luka** – Bond University/Gold Coast
19. Jeremiah Lynch - Wests/Rockhampton
20. Connor Pritchard - Bond University/Gold Coast
21. Reuben Wall** - Brothers
22. Tom Lucas – Sunnybank/Rockhampton
23. Dan Boardman** – Bond University/Gold Coast
** Denotes potential Queensland Country and NRC debut