Super Rugby

Reds unchanged for qualifying final

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Reds Super rugby head coach Brad Thorn has named an unchanged starting XV for Saturday’s Super Rugby AU Qualifying Final against the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium.

Searching for their fifth straight win at home to remain unbeaten in Brisbane this season, Reds head coach Brad Thorn decided to keep the same starting side for this weekend’s Grand Final qualifier with just two changes on the bench.

Jack Straker replaces fellow GPS frontrower Ruan Smith as Queensland’s replacement tighthead prop, while hooker Alex Mafi returns to the 23 from a hamstring injury.

It’s set to be a special evening for Mafi, as well as Lukhan Salakaia-Loto who will both celebrate their 50th cap for Queensland in front of family, friends and fans.

“We’re unbeaten at home this season and hoping for another big crowd,” said Thorn.

“Queenslanders are some of the most passionate people and we thank our loyal fans for their support. We’d love a sea of maroon there on Saturday night – Queenslanders supporting Queenslanders.

“Finals footy – this is what we play for. Melbourne are a quality team and we’re expecting a tough contest.

“Well done to Alex and Lukhan on their 50th cap. It’s a great achievement to play 50 games for your state and as a group we congratulate them both,” said Thorn. The winner of Saturday’s match will qualify for the Super Rugby AU Grand Final against the Brumbies in Canberra next Saturday night.

Queensland Reds

1. Harry Hoopert , 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa , 3. Taniela Tupou , 4. Angus Blyth , 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths , 6. Liam Wright © , 7. Fraser McReight , 8. Harry Wilson , 9. Tate McDermott , 10. James O’Connor , 11. Filipo Daugunu , 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Jordan Petaia , 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia , 15. Jock Campbell

Replacements: 16. Alex Mafi , 17. JP Smith , 18. Jack Straker , 19. Tuaina Taii Tualima , 20. Angus Scott-Young , 21. Moses Sorovi , 22. Bryce Hegarty , 23. Hunter Paisami

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