NRC: Melbourne Rising training squad announced

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All nine local Dewar Shield clubs are represented in the Melbourne Rising 46-player Extended Training Squad (ETS) ahead of the 2016 National Rugby Championship.

The extended squad, named on Wednesday, includes four local Australian U20’s stars, including forwards Jordan Uelese (Melbourne Uni), Ta Hosea (Harlequins) and Ikapote Tupai (Melbourne), along with back Au-Mu Tuimalealifano (Harlequins).


Uelese, Tupai and Tuimalealifano have recently returned from the 2016 World Rugby U20’s Championship in Manchester, where Australia finished sixth after going down to New Zealand in a playoff.

“Victoria continues to develop quality Rugby players, evident with seven locals selected in the Australian U20’s squad this year,” Melbourne Rising head coach Zane Hilton said.

“We have a responsibility to providing our emerging Victorian players with development opportunities, whether it’s via an Extended Training Squad or Melbourne Rising selection for the 2016 National Rugby Championship.”

The 2016 Extended Training Squad also includes former Melbourne Rebel Lloyd Johansson, who made seven Super Rugby appearances for the club in 2012, which included a try against the Force.

Following the Super Rugby debuts of Melbourne products Sione Tuipulotu and Rob Leota this season, Hilton has named 24 forwards and 22 backs for a three-week selection trial, beginning on Monday, in search of the next local star.

Dewar Shield leaders Harlequins are best represented in the ETS with 12 players, followed by Power House, Moorabin and Melbourne Unicorns with 6 each; Box Hill (5); Souths and Footscray (3); Melbourne Uni and Endeavour Hills (1). Division 2 leaders Kiwi Hawthorn have two players included.

Rising selection trials begin on Monday 18 July at Harlequins Oval before the 2016 NRC season kicks off away to the Perth Spirit on Saturday 27 August.

2016 Melbourne Rising Extended Training Squad:

Forwards:

Mike Tyler (Power House), Luke Bryan (South’s), Jack Wotton (Box Hill), Teru Leota (Power House), Mahe Vailano (Harlequins), Jordan Uelese (Melbourne Uni), Noa Noa (Moorabin), Soane Naufahu (Footscray), Angus Arundel (Harlequins), Peter Altona (Moorabin), Will Clift (Melbourne Uni), Murray Douglas (Harlequins), Craig Charters (Melbourne), Hugh Forbes (Melbourne), Ta Hosea (Harlequins), Isi Tevi (Power House), Samu Machon (Moorabin), Sione Tuafa (Harlequins), Tupai Ikapote (Melbourne), Joeli Baleivou (Box Hill), Sakralia Noa (Moorabin), Matt Tamalii (Kiwi Hawthorne), Mana Faraimo (Harlequins), Nathan Paila (Endeavour)

Backs:

Lucky Palamu (Harlequins), Keisuke Yamada (Footscray), Brandon Folau (South’s), Farao Maradonna (Harlequins), Sam Vaevae (Melbourne), Pat Toeta (Moorabin), Sean Cressy (Power House), Jarred Dowie (South’s), Llyod Johansson (Harlequins), Nuia Pauaka (Power House), Elijah Vole (Harlequins), Taiso Leeana (Power House), Leo Owade (Harlequins), Mataisi Nairava (Melbourne), AuMu Tuimalealifano (Harlequins), Chris Ling (Melbourne), Nailati Ukalele (Boxhill), Matthew Rokowaqa (Boxhill), Saimoni Rokowaqa (Boxhill), Troy Woodman (Kiwi Hawthorne), Matika Tomu (Moorabin), Isaiah Leota (Footscray)