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Reds include Wallabies for Blues clash

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The Queensland Reds have named their team to play the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland in their return to action following the June Test window.

The match will see several of the Reds’ Wallabies representatives return immediately to the Queensland lineup, with Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Tui and Samu Kerevi all named in the starting XV and Caleb Timu on the bench.

The coaches have also been forced into some changes, with a number of players ruled out due to injury, including Wallabies lock Izack Rodda (shoulder) and outside back Izaia Perese (knee).

The Reds have made four personnel changes to the starting side from their last fixture against the Waratahs at the start of the month.

In the forwards, the injury to regular starter Rodda sees young lock Harry Hockings get his second opportunity in the starting lineup, while Lukhan Tui returns to the Reds for the first time since Round 9, after missing four games due to injury prior to the Test window. He has been named at blindside flanker – where he played for the Wallabies in the final Test against Ireland.

In the backs, an injury to Izaia Perese suffered during club Rugby means Eto Nabuli gets his first opportunity on the wing since Round 6. While Jono Lance also returns to the side at fullback, after being a late injury scratching from the last match.

The Reds have also made several changes to the bench, highlighted by the return of their international representatives. Timu has recovered from an ankle injury to take a place on the bench, along with Junior Wallabies prop Harry Hoopert and scrumhalf Tate McDermott, who have resumed their reserve roles after returning from the World Rugby U20s Championships in France.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “The guys are excited to be back in Super Rugby mode. Queensland hasn’t won at Eden Park since 2012, so there’s a great challenge and opportunity in front of us to show what progress we’ve made this season.

“We’ve been hit with some injuries during the June Test window through Wallabies and club Rugby, but we’ve been giving players opportunities all year to ensure we can deal with setbacks when they occur. It’s disappointing to lose those guys to injury, but it presents opportunities to other players.

“The Blues are a dangerous team. They’re big, athletic and have plenty of strike power. It’s tough to win at Eden Park, so we’ll need head there ready for anything.”

Queensland Reds

1. JP Smith , 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa , 3. Taniela Tupou , 4. Harry Hockings , 5. Kane Douglas , 6. Lukhan Tui , 7. George Smith , 8. Scott Higginbotham (C) 9. Moses Sorovi , 10. Hamish Stewart , 11. Eto Nabuli , 12. Duncan Paia’aua , 13. Samu Kerevi, , 14. Jordan Petaia , 15. Jono Lance

Replacements: 16. Alex Mafi , 17. Harry Hoopert , 18. Ruan Smith , 19. Caleb Timu , 20. Angus Scott-Young , 21. Tate McDermott , 22. Aidan Toua , 23. Filipo Daugunu

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