Plenty of Fijian speed and power in Reds team
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Queensland Reds have made four changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s clash against the Chiefs in Townsville.
Utility back Isaac Henry will make his starting debut after being named at inside centre for this weekend’s first game of Super Rugby at North Queensland Stadium in North Queensland.
There’ll be plenty of Fijian power out wide as Filipo Daugunu returns to the starting side on the left wing with Suliasi Vunivalu on the other flank.
Feao Fotuaika will start at loosehead prop while Angus Scott-Young is also back in the XV at No.6 with Liam Wright shifting to openside flank.
It sees Fraser McReight unleashed as a finisher in one-of-six changes to the Reds’ reserves.
Hamish Stewart and Illaisa Droasese will inject firepower into Queensland’s backline late in the game while Dane Zander, Josh Nasser and Zane Nonggorr are the replacement frontrow combination for this week.
In addition, it’s set to be a special occasion for scrumhalf Tate McDermott who will celebrate his 50th Super Rugby game on Saturday.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s great to head north and play in front of our North Queensland fans.
“There’s a strong Rugby community in Townsville. We have a good connection with them and want to put on a good performance for our supporters.
“The Chiefs will provide a tough contest. They’re this year’s Aotearoa Grand Finalists and we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“Well done to Tate McDermott on his 50th cap this week. He made his Queensland debut as a 19-year-old back in 2018. He has worked hard within our program and continues to improve on his game. He’s our sixth Red to have brought up 50 games this year which is something special. As a group, we recognise and celebrate Tate’s achievement,” said Thorn.
Reds: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Suliasi Vunivalu, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Isaac Henry, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor (co-captain), 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (co-captain), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Seru Uru, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Ilaisa Droasese.
Date: Saturday, May 29
Venue: North Queensland Stadium, Townsville
Kick-off: 19.45 (21.45 NZST; 09.45 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Reuben Keane, Brett Cronan
TMO: Ian Smith