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Queensland Reds change four for Lions

Reds player George Smith make his first Super rugby start this season

Reds player George Smith make his first Super rugby start this season

Queensland Super Rugby head coach Brad Thorn has made four changes for Saturday’s match against the Lions at Suncorp Stadium.

For the first time this season veteran flanker George Smith, exciting young winger Jordan Petaia, prop JP Smith and flyhalf Hamish Stewart all make the starting line up.

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Regular starters James Slipper and Jono lance have been ruled out of the match due to injury.

Impressive Reds centre Samu Kerevi has been named captain, with regular leader Scott Higginbotham and stand-in skipper Slipper injured.

George Smith, who made his return from a back injury via the bench last weekend, has been promoted to the starting lineup ahead of youngster Liam Wright, who has dropped out of the match-day 23.

Petaia, who recently became the Reds’ youngest-ever Super Rugby debutant, has earned his first Super Rugby start on the wing, ahead of Izaia Perese, who has shifted to the bench.

JP Smith, in his run-on debut for Queensland, has been brought into the starting side to replace Slipper, who has been ruled out due to a collar bone injury sustained against the NSW Waratahs two weeks ago.

Stewart has been promoted in place of Lance, who is still recovering from a concussion suffered in last weekend’s match. The match will be Stewart’s first start in Super Rugby.

The Reds have also made a number of changes to the bench, with Dalby’s Harry Hoopert named for a potential Queensland and Super Rugby debut.

The 19-year-old prop from Toowoomba Grammar School is in his first year of Super Rugby after helping Queensland U20s to back-to-back Super U20s Championships in 2016 and 2017.

Flanker Adam Korczyk has also been brought back into the reserves, taking the place made available by George Smith’s promotion.

Centre Duncan Paia’aua also returns to the match-day 23 for the first time since Round 6.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us this weekend. The Lions, being last year’s finalists, are an impressive team. It’s no secret we were disappointed with how we started the match last weekend and the guys are determined to get back out there and put in an 80-minute performance.

“We’ve been forced into making some changes due to injury, but the guys getting the nod have been working hard and deserve an opportunity in the starting side.

“It’s an exciting moment for Hamish and Jordan, earning their first starts in Super Rugby. They’re talented, hard-working young men who will make the most of the opportunity.

“George also gets his first chance to start this year, after working his way back from injury. He’s a seasoned campaigner and adds significant experience to the team. We’re looking forward to seeing him back at his best.

“Harry Hoopert is another exciting prospect who will potentially get his first crack in a Queensland jersey this weekend. We’ve had our eye on him for a few years and he has been building to this. It’s a proud moment for his family and the Darling Downs community, which continues to produce talented Rugby players.”

Queensland Reds

1. JP Smith, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa , 3. Taniela Tupou, , 4. Izack Rodda, 5. Kane Douglas, , 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. George Smith , , 8. Caleb Timu , 9. Ben Lucas, 10. Hamish Stewart** , 11. Jordan Petaia** , 12. Samu Kerevi (C), , 13. Chris Feauai-Sautia , 14. Filipo Daugunu, 15. Aidan Toua

Replacements : 16. Alex Mafi , 17. Harry Hoopert*, 18. Ruan Smith , 19. Harry Hockings , 20. Adam Korczyk, 21. Moses Sorovi , 22. Duncan Paia’aua , 23. Izaia Perese

*potential Queensland/Super Rugby debut ,
**run-on debut ,
***run-on debut for Queensland

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