Bond University Rugby Club's (BURC) young stars, Alex Mafi and Harry Nucifora, have been selected for the Queensland Country team in the upcoming Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC), where they will go head-to-head with some of Australia's most elite Super Rugby players.
Mafi and Nucifora will form part of the 28-man Queensland Country squad, along with fellow BURC players Dion Taumata, Richie Arnold and Cam Bracewell.
Queensland Country are set to compete in the Buildcorp NRC against teams from across the nation and will be mentored by three marquee players from the Wallabies - Rob Simmons, Saia Fainga’a and fellow Bond University student James Slipper.
It has been a successful year for Nucifora, who represented Australia in both the World Rugby Under 20s Championships in Italy and the Oceania Rugby Tournament, held at Bond University in May.
The 18-year-old is in his first year of a Bachelor of Property at Bond, where he is also part of the Bond Elite Sport Program.
Mafi's standout performance on the field for the BURC this season did not go unnoticed by Queensland Red talent scouts; he recently signed a three-year contract with the Super Rugby side and will begin training with the Reds when pre-season kicks off in November.
The 18-year-old hooker was one of only two students Australia-wide to receive the John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship to Bond University in 2015, a prestigious scholarship for sporting excellence which includes the added bonus of one-on-one mentoring from rugby legend, John Eales.
Mafi said he was also looking forward to playing against some of the country's best rugby talent in the upcoming Buildcorp NRC.
"Making the Queensland Country side was a goal I set myself at the start of the year. I had my eye set on it and was determined to work really hard to make it happen," he said.
"To play alongside some of the top professional rugby players Australia has to offer is a chance to learn from the best, and I'm going to make the most out of the opportunity to take my rugby career to the next level."
Sean Hedger, Bond University's Director of Rugby, said playing in the Buildcorp NRC was a great chance for the Bond players to rub shoulders with some of the best in the game.
"The Buildcorp NRC was established last year by Australian Rugby Union as a pathway for players to graduate from club ranks to the Super Rugby level and beyond, and has drawn praise for improving player depth across Super Rugby and state-based club competitions," said Mr Hedger.
"Harry and Alex have proved themselves to be young up-and-comers on the rugby scene, and this latest achievement is the first step towards successful professional careers.
"It is also excellent motivation for all of our players to work hard and play their best, as it shows that the opportunities to move up the ranks to professional rugby are very real."
Nucifora and Mafi will have the home ground advantage in their first game of the Buildcorp NRC, when Queensland Country takes on Melbourne Rising at the Bond Rugby Grounds on August 23.
For more information on the Buildcorp NRC visit http://www.rugby.com.au/nrc/Home.aspx
To purchase tickets to the Queensland Country games, visit http://wl.eventopia.co/QueenslandRugbyUnion