Duncan Paia’aua to captain Bond University Queensland Country in 2017 National Rugby Championship 

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Queensland Rugby Union today announced Duncan Paia’aua will captain Bond University Queensland Country in the 2017 National Rugby Championship.

The 22-year-old centre from Rockhampton enjoyed a breakout year with the St.George Queensland Reds in 2017 and is entering his fourth season with Queensland Country in the NRC.

He will be supported in the role by 21-year-old Izack Rodda as vice-captain. Rodda made his debut for the Wallabies last weekend in just his first year of Super Rugby with the Reds. Rodda, originally from Lismore but schooled in Ipswich, is entering his second season with Queensland Country.

Queensland Country head coach Brad Thorn said: “Duncan has shown strong leadership qualities and has the respect of the staff and playing group.

“(Assistant coach) Paul Carozza and I feel he has matured well over the last couple of seasons and he grew throughout the 2017 Super Rugby season.

“He’s a proud Rockhampton man and representing Country means a lot to him. Duncan has been part of the Queensland Country squad since the first year of the NRC and although the side hasn’t had a great deal of success, he is passionate about driving improvement and results.”

Queensland Country’s season gets underway this weekend in Canberra against the Vikings and Paia’aua said he was looking forward to leading the side in 2017.

“It’s really humbling, to be honest, to have Brad pick me as his captain. I’ve really enjoyed my Rugby this year and getting the opportunity to captain Queensland Country is the icing on the cake.

“I feel like this will be a good step in my development and I know everyone in the Country squad is looking forward to ripping in.”

The Queensland Country squad features 14 players with Super Rugby experience and 21 returning players from last year’s NRC. Sixteen players have been selected from Queensland Premier Rugby, with all nine clubs represented. Thirteen members of the 35-man squad have direct links to Country Rugby.

The first Queensland Country home game in Round 2 will see the annual Andy Purcell Cup match between Country and Brisbane City take place at Noosa Dolphins Rugby Club on the Sunshine Coast.

The country will also host two matches at Bond University on the Gold Coast, taking on the Melbourne Rising and NSW Country, before hosting Perth Spirit at North Ipswich Reserve in their fourth and final home game.

Duncan Paia’aua – captain
Position: Centre
Height: 180cm
Weight: 91kg
DOB: 20/01/1995 (22)
POB: Wellington, NZ
School: Emmaus College, Rockhampton
Club: Norths
Hometown: Rockhampton
Representative honours: Queensland Under 16s, Queensland Under  20s (2015), Australian Under 20s (2015), Queensland Country NRC (2014-), Queensland (2015-)
Super Rugby debut: 2015 v Brumbies, Canberra
Super Rugby caps: 23
Super Rugby Points: 15 (3T)

Izack Rodda – vice-captain
Position: Lock
Height: 202cm
Weight: 119kg
DOB: 20/08/1996 (21)
POB: Lismore, NSW
School: Ipswich Grammar School
Club: Easts
Representative honours: Queensland Schoolboys (2014), Australian Schoolboys (2014), Queensland Under 20s (2016), Australian Under 20s (2016), Queensland Country NRC (2016), Queensland (2017-), Wallabies (2017)
Super Rugby debut: 2017 v Sharks, Suncorp Stadium
Super Rugby caps: 12
Super Rugby Points: 5 (1T)
Test debut: 2017 v New Zealand, Dunedin
Test caps: 1

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