Super Rugby

Reds change two for Sunwolves




Queensland’s Reds have named a Super rugby side with two changes for this Friday’s match against the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium in their annual Indigenous Round clash.

The Reds have made two changes to the starting team which defeated the Melbourne Rebels last week, as they prepare for their last match of the 2018 Super Rugby season.

Veteran flanker George Smith was unable to recover from a knee injury in time for this Friday’s match, meaning he will be forced to watch from the sidelines before heading offshore to take up a contract with Bristol Bears in the UK.

The one change to the starting forward pack sees versatile forward Lukhan Tui return to the starting side in the second row, with Kane Douglas dropping out of the match-day 23.

In the backs, youngster Tate McDermott has earned his first Super Rugby start at scrumhalf, with Moses Sorovi shifting to the bench.

The Reds have also made a number of changes to the reserves, opting for six forwards and two backs.

Bond University Queensland Country and Australian U20s lock Angus Blyth is in line to make his potential Queensland and Super Rugby debut, after being brought onto the bench, taking the place freed up by Lukhan Tui’s promotion.

Adam Korczyk has also found a spot in the match-day 23 for the first time since Round 13, when the Reds and Sunwolves last met.

Utility back Teti Tela from Brisbane club Souths is also in line for a potential Queensland and Super Rugby debut, having been named on the bench for the second week in a row.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “We’re excited to be back at Suncorp Stadium this Friday with one last chance to play in front of our home fans in 2018.

“We were all really pleased with the character shown to get the win against the Melbourne Rebels last week and we know we need to back that up with another strong performance against the Sunwolves.

“It’s unfortunate that George doesn’t get an opportunity to play in the Reds’ jersey one final time, but we thought it was in his best interests to listen to his body and sit this one out. He has given plenty to us and to Australian Rugby as a whole and we wish him all the best with the rest of his career.

“We’ve made a couple of changes that probably reflect the depth in the squad and also point a bit to the future. Lukhan Tui returns to the starting side at lock beside Izack Rodda and Angus Blyth gets his first opportunity this week. He has been working away, waiting to get a taste at this level. He’s one to watch for the future. Kane Douglas has done a great job for us this season, but with him moving overseas, we felt we should give opportunities to younger players.

“With Tate McDermott and Moses Sorovi, they’re both exciting young players with plenty to offer. This is Tate’s first opportunity in the starting side and we know Moses will provide some spark off the bench.

“We didn’t get a chance to use Teti Tela last week, but hopefully he will get that opportunity this Friday because he has been a great contributor to the squad all season.

“The Sunwolves are a dangerous attacking team. They’ve got some clever plays and a smart kicking game, so we need to be switched on and prepared for anything.”

The match also marks Queensland Rugby Union’s seventh annual Indigenous Round, with the Reds to wear a specially-designed jersey as the centrepiece of the organisation’s NAIDOC Week celebrations.

The jersey was designed by Samantha Booth, a Butchulla woman, whose three children are members of the Reds Future Indigenous Leaders Program in Woorabinda, Central Queensland. The jerseys will be presented to the match-day 23 by members of the Reds Future Indigenous Leaders Program at tomorrow’s captain’s run at Ballymore.

The match-day jerseys will be auctioned off following the match, to raise money for the Reds Indigenous Program.

Queensland Reds

1. JP Smith , 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa , 3. Taniela Tupou , 4. Izack Rodda , 5. Lukhan Tui , 6. Caleb Timu , 7. Liam Wright , 8. Scott Higginbotham (C), 9. Tate McDermott , 10. Hamish Stewart, 11. Eto Nabuli , 12. Duncan Paia’aua, 13. Jordan Petaia, 14. Filipo Daugunu , 15. Jono Lance

Replacements : 16. Alex Mafi , 17. Harry Hoopert , 18. Ruan Smith , 19. Angus Blyth, 20. Angus Scott-Young , 21. Adam Korczyk, 22. Moses Sorovi , 23. Teti Tela

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