The Bond University Queensland Country 35-man squad was announced today at a launch event held on campus by naming rights partner Bond University. The inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship (NRC) which begins on August 21, is a new domestic rugby competition, involving nine teams from across Australia and will provide another link in players’ development pathway towards Super Rugby and ultimately Wallabies selection.
17 players within the Queensland Country squad were either born or brought up in country Queensland or have passed through the Queensland Country pathway on their way to selection in this squad.
12 capped Queensland Reds players have been named in the 35-man squad captained by Anthony Fainga'a, who was recently the vice-captain of the Reds in their Super Rugby clash against the Melbourne Rebels. Other Reds include Anthony’s twin brother Saia, Blake Enever, Scott Gale, Mike Harris, Greg Holmes, Sam Johnson, Ben Lucas, Beau Robinson and Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.
Bond University Rugby Club (BURC) Locks 26-year-old Cameron Bracewell and 33-year-old Rubin Fuimaono have also been named in the squad along with current Wallabies and Queensland Reds, and former BURC, Prop James Slipper.
Slipper volunteered his time this morning for a mentoring session with Bond University 25th Anniversary Scholarship student and BURC Colts Prop Sam Clifton. James and Sam who both attended TSS on the Gold Coast were joined by Zac Barlett from Townsville (who joined the Colts this season after a switch from rugby league) mentored by Wallabies and Queensland Country Lock Rob Simmons.
Bond University Vice Chancellor Professor Tim Brailsford said that Bond had a proud history of links to rugby dating back to when the University was first launched in May 1989 where it only took four weeks before the first Bond rugby club was formed.
He said the University had a natural affinity with a Queensland Country team as many of Bond’s students came from regional areas throughout Queensland.
“To have the Queensland Country team branded as Bond University and to have the inaugural game played here at Bond and to have several Bond rugby players selected in the team is very exciting. We thank the Queensland Rugby Union and the Queensland Country Rugby Union Association for the opportunity,” he said.
“With the new national competition involving nine teams, talented young athletes now have a pathway through school, onto university and then through the ranks of rugby union right through to the national level.“
Bond University Queensland Country will begin their campaign on Saturday August 30, against the NSW Country Eagles at Bond University.
For more infomration about Bond University Queensland Country, visit the official website.
For information on Bond University’s John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship, visit bond.edu.au