Experienced Rising squad for NRC

Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union (MRRU) have named a 33-player Melbourne Rising squad for the 2016 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC), which kicks off against the Perth Spirit on Saturday 27 August in Perth.

The squad boasts Super Rugby and international experience, which includes seven members of Australia’s 2016 World Rugby U20’s Championship campaign.

The Rising have retained 19 players from last year’s squad that progressed through to a second consecutive National Rugby Championship semi-final, along with the return of Nic Stirzaker (shoulder) and Sefa Naivalu (broken leg) from 2014.

“The NRC is exciting for players and fans alike, the nature of the tournament offers promising aspirants a national stage to compete while encouraging attacking, expansive Rugby,” Hilton said.

“We have developed a competitive Rugby culture in the Rising off the back of the strong local club history in Melbourne and are excited about what the third season of the NRC will bring.”

Rebels new recruits Tyrel Lomax, Jack Maddocks and Alex Toolis will make their first appearances in the blue, red and white after signing with the Rebels for the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The Rising will feature eight local Dewar Shield players, including former Melbourne Storm U20’s Elias Vole (Harlequin), along with Ah-mu Tuimalaeliifano (Harlequin) and Ikapote Tupai (Melbourne), who are set to make their NRC debuts.

Former Wallaby and Melbourne Rebel Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin) and Sione Taufa (Harlequin) return for their third consecutive Rising seasons while Murray Douglas (Harlequin) is back for a second year.

The Rising Extended Training Squad, made up of 46 local Dewar Shield players, have been training for the last three weeks before the Rising squad for the 2016 NRC was finalised.

Melbourne Rising, run and operated by the Melbourne Rebels, will contest the third season of the NRC, the seven-week national underpinning competition to Super Rugby. The Rising plays a key role in the development and preparation of athletes for the rigours of professional Rugby.

The Rising kick off their 2016 NRC campaign away against the Perth Spirit on Saturday 27 August. Melbourne Rising multi-game and single game ticket packages for the 2016 NRC are now available from melbournerebels.com.

2016 Melbourne Rising Squad

Name (Position, Club)

Cruze Ah Nau (Prop, Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)

Steve Cummins (Lock, Harlequin/Melbourne Rebels)

Jack Debreczeni (Fly-Half, Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)

Murray Douglas (Lock, Harlequin)

Tom English (Wing, Melbourne University/Melbourne Rebels)

Colby Fainga’a (Flanker, Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)

Harley Fox (No. 8, Power House/Melbourne Rebels)

James Hanson (Hooker, Harlequin/Melbourne Rebels)*

Reece Hodge (Fullback, Melbourne Unicorns/Melbourne Rebels)

Ikapote Tupai (Flanker, Melbourne Unicorns)

Sam Jeffries (Lock, Melbourne University/Melbourne Rebels)

Lloyd Johansson (Centre, Harlequin)

Pat Leafa (Hooker, Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels)

Taiso Silafai-Leaana (Centre, Power House)

Rob Leota (Backrow, Melbourne University/Melbourne Rebels)

Tyrel Lomax (Prop, Tuggeranong Vikings)

Jack Maddocks (Fullback, Eastern Suburbs (NSW))

Sean McMahon (Flanker, Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)*

Ben Meehan (Scrumhalf, Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels)

Tim Metcher (Prop, Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)

Tom Moloney (Prop, Harlequin/Melbourne Rebels)

Sefa Naivalu (Centre, Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels)

Jonah Placid (Fullback, Melbourne University/Melbourne Rebels)

Jordy Reid (Flanker, Melbourne Unicorns/Melbourne Rebels)

Fereti Sa’aga (Prop, Melbourne University)

Dom Shipperley (Wing, Melbourne University/Melbourne Rebels)

Siliva Siliva (Hooker, Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)

Toby Smith (Prop, Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)*

Mick Snowden (Scrumhalf, Melbourne Unicorns/Melbourne Rebels)

Nic Stirzaker (Scrumhalf, Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)

Alex Toolis (Lock, Edinburgh (UK))

Sione Taufa (Flanker, Harlequin)

Ah-Mu Tuimalealiifano (Wing, Harlequin)

Sione Tuipulotu (Centre, Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels)

Jordan Uelese (Hooker, Melbourne University)

Elias Vole (Centre, Harlequin)

*Wallaby ambassador