Melbourne Rising announce 2015 NRC squad
Melbourne Rising coach Zane Hilton has named an impressive 33-man squad for this year’s National Rugby Championships.
15 players from last year’s squad return for a second season, with Wallabies Luke Jones, Tom English and Sean McMahon and Australian U20’s stars Jonah Placid, Fereti Sa’aga and Sione Tuipulotu all set to feature for the Rising.
Melbourne were the dominant side for the majority of last year’s inaugural season, but fell short against Perth in the semi final.
“We want to play an exciting, expansive style, and the law variations of the competition encourage that,” Hilton said.
“Make no mistake; we want to improve from last season, and we think we’re certainly capable if we work hard enough and continue to gel as a unit,” he added.
The Rising will play matches at four separate venues in 2015.
“We’ve got a wonderful opportunity to take our home matches out to the community in Ashgrove, Frankston, Geelong and Morwell, and we want to put on a great show for the fans.”
The Rising’s Extended Training Squad has been together since June, with last year’s semi finalists expected to be one of the best prepared sides for this year’s competition.
“There were some tough decisions made, but ultimately we are very confident that having watched everybody in training and in the Dewar Shield or Super Rugby, we have the right balance in the squad,” Hilton said.
“There’s a number of ETS players who will continue to be in and around the squad, and a number of players who will certainly be back better next year and ready to have another crack.
“We’ve been particularly impressed by a number of the Dewar Shield players who return from the 2014 Melbourne Rising squad, such as Junior Paila, Pom Simona and Sione Taufa; their attitude has been spot on, as they’ve worked so hard to ensure we picked them rather than assume they’d get in again based on last season’s exploits.”
2015 Melbourne Rising NRC Squad
Cruze Ah-Nau (Prop, Footscray & Rebels)
Mitch Andrews (Hooker, Melbourne)
Duncan Chubb (Prop, Southern Districts (NSW))
Steve Cummins (Lock, Harlequin & Rebels)
Jack Debreczeni (Flyhalf, Endeavour Hills & Rebels)
Murray Douglas (Lock, Harlequin)
Tom English (Wing, Melbourne Uni & Rebels)*
Colby Fainga’a (Flanker, Footscray & Rebels)
Maradona Farao (Scrumhalf, Harlequin)
Scott Fuglistaller (Flanker, Moorabbin & Rebels)
Stacey Ili (Wing, Melbourne Uni)
Sam Jeffries (Lock, Melbourne Uni & Rebels)
Lloyd Johansson (Centre, Harlequin)
Luke Jones (Lock, Moorabbin & Rebels)*
Pat Leafa (Hooker, Box Hill & Rebels)
Justin Marsters (Fullback, Harlequin)
Sean McMahon (Flanker, Endeavour Hills & Rebels)*
Ben Meehan (Scrumhalf, Box Hill & Rebels)
Tim Metcher (Prop, Moorabbin & Rebels)
Sakaria Noa (Lock, Southern Districts)
Junior Paila (Scrumhalf, Endeavour Hills)
Jonah Placid (Fullback, Melbourne Uni & Rebels)
Jordy Reid (Flanker, Melbourne & Rebels)
Fereti Sa’aga (Prop, Melbourne Uni)
Dom Shipperley (Wing, Melbourne Uni & Rebels)
Taiso Silafai-Leaana (Centre, Melbourne Uni)
Pom Simona (Number 8, Harlequin)
Leo Taliu (Centre, Harlequin)
Sione Taufa (Flanker, Harlequin)
Lopeti Timani (Number Eight, Footscray & Rebels)
Sasa Tofilau (Centre, Melbourne Uni)
Sione Tuipulotu (Centre, Southern Districts)
Mike Tyler (Prop, Power House)
* Indicates Allocated Wallaby