SOUTHERN Inland forwards coach Nick McCarthy believes the pack will play an important role in ensuring representative success in Canberra on Saturday.
The Southern Inland Rugby Union (SIRU) representative team will play a combined Monaro-South Coast team in a new-look format at Uni Norths Oval in Canberra.
Southern Inland has only made the one change to their squad with Albury hooker Tom Boyle in to replace Ag College open side flanker Mike Van Diggelen, who is out for six weeks with an ankle injury.
McCarthy believes the Southern Inland forward pack has an important role to play on Saturday in order to allow their quality backline to shine.
“Our backline is our strength,” McCarthy said.
“As a forward pack, it’s important we win our fair share of ball because there is points galore in the backline.
“It should be a lot of fun I think.”
Southern Inland will have a fresh look about them in this year’s clash and have taken a youthful approach.
With a heavy presence of the undefeated Leeton team, McCarthy is excited about what they will produce.
“We’re really happy. It’s a very different side to last year, with only six players returning,” he said.
“With the quality within the zone this year, especially at Leeton, we’re very happy with how the squad is shaping up.
“There is a big Fijian presence in the way Leeton play, they play a very ad-lib game, they know how to play what’s in front of them. It should be really good.”
Southern Inland have been too good for Monaro and South Coast in previous years, so the two zones have combined forces for this year’s game.
McCarthy expects a tough clash.
“They’ll be good, whenever you get the best players from two zones merged together, they’re going to be strong,” he said.
“They have trained a couple of times and played a game so we’ll need to be at our best to get the result, and hopefully get as many selected in the Provincial team.”
SIRU will train for the final time on Friday night in Wagga, and then travel to Canberra together on Saturday. The game starts at 2pm.
Following Saturday’s game, a Brumbies Provincial representative squad will again be selected. The team will play NSW Country Cockatoos on Saturday week, June 17, at Viking Park in Canberra.
SIRU REP TEAM: Jack McIntosh, Tom Macleay (Ag College), Austin Wallace, Harry Hosegood, Tom Hallam, Xavier Chigwidden (Waratahs), Roussoux Visser, James Devlin, Tom Boyle (Albury), Nathan Seymour, Stu Dyer (Wagga City) Chris Latu , Andrew Madden (Griffith), Moses Waqa, Sai Ratudradra, Joe Kafoa-Pene, Simon Vunilagi, Noa Rabici, Siti Watkins, Joe Ratu, Nathan Batina (Leeton), Angus Forster, Tom Mouat, Josef Glamuzina (Tumut)