Bond University Queensland Country head coach Rod Seib has named his match-day 23 for their Round 7 National Rugby Championship (NRC) clash against the Fijian Drua at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka, which will kick-off at 1:00pm (AEST) on Saturday afternoon, 12 October.
Seib has made only three changes to his squad from their Round 6 win over NSW Country at Bond University.
In the starting XV, GPS prop Jethro Felemi will earn his first NRC start at loosehead prop in place of Harry Hoopert, who has been ruled out of the match, which sees Carter Ozanne return to the reserves bench as well.
Recent Wallabies debutant Liam Wright has been named in the reserves, while Brothers scrumhalf Reuben Wall has also been recalled to the side.
For Wright, this will be his first match for Country since their 2018 Round 2 clash against the Melbourne Rising in Townsville, where a hamstring injury sustained in the game ruled him out for the remainder of last year’s season.
After returning from Wallabies duties early in the NRC campaign, a further lower limb injury has kept Wright sidelined, but his return is welcome as Country prepare for Saturday’s match, which will determine whether the team play finals or not.
Currently sitting in fourth place on the NRC ladder with 14 competition points, Country are closely followed by the Drua in fifth and Brisbane City in sixth, both tied on 13 points.
“Liam’s return is definitely a positive for us as we head into what will be a tough clash against the Fijian Drua on Saturday,” said Seib.
“Despite injuries both this year and last, Liam has been around the group at training and on game days, helping out with coaching and as a trainer on game days, and his leadership will be a welcome addition in the match day 23 on the weekend.
“Saturday’s clash is obviously an important one for the team, we managed to get ourselves back into finals calculations with back-to-back wins over the last fortnight, but this weekend is arguably our toughest challenge facing the Fijian side on the road.
“The Drua are in a similar space to us in terms of finals standings so it’s a must win game for both sides, not to mention a replay of last year’s grand final.
“Thankfully we’ve managed to keep a fair level of consistency in our selections again and we’ll look to continue to improve upon our performances over the last few weeks.”
Bond University Queensland Country will face the Fijian Drua at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka on Saturday, 12 October, kicking off at 1:00pm AEST. The match will be broadcast live via Kayo and Rugby.com.au.