The Navy Canberra Vikings have committed to a strong local representation for the inaugural Mazda Australian Rugby Championship (ARC).
It is expected that as many as ten members of the Navy Canberra Vikings will be made up of non-contracted players from Canberra’s John I Dent Cup Premier Division, with Easts flanker Jack Vanderglas and Tuggeranong scrumhalf Beau Mokotupu amongst those included in the squad.
Both Vanderglas, 24, and Mokotupu, 25, have been regulars in Canberra representative sides in recent years including selection in the ACT Seniors squad and the 2006 Australian Rugby Shield-winning Canberra Vikings.
Vanderglas says the Mazda ARC is a great opportunity to be part of a full-time program.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge of the ARC,” he said. “We’ll receive world-class coaching from Nick [Scrivener] and the Vikings coaching staff and essentially be operating in a Super 14 program.
“It’s a great chance to develop my game and test myself against some of the best players in the country.”
Mokotupu says he’s looking forward to playing at next level.
“The ARC is a great competition for local players to challenge themselves and see if we can make the step up,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for us to train and play alongside contracted players, and be exposed to a higher level of footy.”
Navy Canberra Vikings head coach Nick Scrivener says he’s looking forward to giving the local contingent an opportunity in the new provincial tournament.
“We’ve said all along that the ARC is about giving players an opportunity to prove themselves at that next level,” he said. “We’ll have about a third of our squad made up from local [club rugby] players to complement our Wallaby representatives, Brumby-contracted players and some of the best young rugby talent from around the country.
“Jack and Beau have been in great form in the local [Canberra club rugby] competition. This is a chance for them to be part of a full-time program and learn off our senior players as well as bringing a hunger and enthusiasm to the squad. I’m expecting them both to make a significant contribution towards the success of the Vikings and I’m looking forward to them proving themselves against quality opposition.”
The Navy Canberra Vikings will play the Melbourne Rebels in their first match at Manuka Oval on Saturday, 11 August.