Super Rugby

Reds make three changes for Sunwolves in Tokyo




The Queensland Reds have named their Super rugby team to take on the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo this Saturday.

The Reds have made three personnel changes to the starting XV which defeated the Lions two weeks ago, highlighted by the return from injury of seasoned campaigners James Slipper and Jono Lance.

Slipper has recovered from a collar bone injury to regain the starting loosehead jersey. He will also resume his role as stand-in skipper, in the absence of injured captain Scott Higginbotham.

The only other change to the starting forward pack is a back-row reshuffle, with Adam Korczyk coming in for Caleb Timu, who suffered an ankle injury against the Lions. Korczyk has been named at blindside flanker, with Angus Scott-Young shifting to Number 8.

In the backs, Lance’s return from a concussion sees him slot back into the starting flyhalf role, with Hamish Stewart moving to starting fullback, after impressing in his first Super Rugby start two weeks ago. Stewart’s positional change sees Aidan Toua move to the bench for the first time this season, with Izaia Perese dropping out of the match-day squad.

In the reserves, prop Sef Fa’agase is back in the match-day 23 for the first time since Round 9, taking the place of Ruan Smith.

Flanker Liam Wright has also been brought back into the side, taking the spot made available by Korczyk’s promotion to the starting side.

Twin brothers JP and Ruan Smith were not considered for selection for this match, after the pair missed training commitments early in the bye week.

The match will be lock Kane Douglas’ 100th Super Rugby cap, after making his debut back in 2010.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “The guys are excited at the challenge ahead. It’s our first trip to Japan to take on the Sunwolves and while the results haven’t gone their way this season, they’re a dangerous team.

“The players have come back fresh from the bye and there’s a good energy among the group. We’re just going about our business, working hard and trying to improve as the season continues.

“We’re pleased to be able to welcome back Jono (Lance) and James (Slipper). They bring plenty of experience and composure to the group.

“With Jono back and Hamish playing well in his first start, it felt natural to pick the two of them. They bring similar attributes, they’re both tough competitors. We feel they’ll complement each other well and provide a few more options to the team in attack.

“It’s disappointing to lose Caleb (Timu) for this match. He’s been thriving. You never like to lose a guy to injury, but we’ve been building depth throughout the season, so we’re always confident in the guys stepping into the role.

“It’s a great achievement for Kane (Douglas) this weekend, reaching 100 games of Super Rugby. That’s something he can be really proud of. These sort of milestones are great and the team know they’re even better after a good result. The challenge is there for us.”

Queensland Reds

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

Replacements : 16. Alex Mafi , 17. Harry Hoopert, 18. Sef Fa’agase, 19. Harry Hockings , 20. Liam Wright, 21. Moses Sorovi , 22. Duncan Paia’aua , 23. Aidan Toua,

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