Selected Victorian Club rugby players will have the opportunity to represent the Melbourne Rising in the team’s Friday night Curtain-Raiser Clash against the Japan A Wolfpack side.
The Wolfpack side is Japan’s extended World Cup training squad, and the team will showcase some of Japan’s best players, preluding the Rebels’ clash with the Bulls.
While the match is already a great proposition for the Rising’s 2019 NRC preparations, an exciting aspect of the game will be the opportunity for local Victorian rugby players to gain exposure against internationally experienced players.
Rising Co-Head Coach Pom Simona says the Melbourne side will be vastly made up of Victorian Club rugby players.
“The majority of the team will be Victorian Club players who we’ve gone out and watched, or we’ve watched video tape and potentially can step up to that next level,” Simona said.
“I’m really excited for them to play international rugby, it’s not something that happens every day in Victoria.”
With up to three quarters of the side slated to be Victorian Club rugby players, the match will be a chance for Dewar Shield talent to showcase their abilities.
Simona says the match will also be a fantastic opportunity for Rising Coaching staff to see which Club players could potentially make the step up to NRC level.
“(It’s a great opportunity) to have a look at the local talent, because we know there’s a lot of out there, but we want to see them in our environment to see how they go,” Simona said.
“They’re testing themselves against players who’ve played 50-100 Super Rugby games and have played international games.
“Games like this we probably haven’t had in the past, so it’s a chance for the guys coming in from Dewar Shield to really put their foot forward and say I belong in this environment and I could potentially play NRC and make a good case for myself.”
A fierce contest is expected from the Japanese side who defeated the Brumbies Runners side 66-17 on Sunday.
Simona says the Rising will have to be prepared for a side which contains Japanese players who are eager to stamp their World Cup ambitions through good performances.
“We’re expecting a very well drilled and well-disciplined side full of internationals and professionals,” Simona said.
“We’re under no illusions to how tough the game is going to be.
“They’re all playing for positions at the World Cup, so they’ll be very tough team indeed.”
The Rising side is due to be announced Wednesday.
Rising v Japan A Wolfpack
Kick Off: 5:05pm
Tickets Available for both Rising and Rebels Games here