Redemption time in Reds' needle rematch
Injury to Queensland Reds back Jock Campbell has provided Filipo Daugunu the chance to re-establish himself after the Wallabies wing found himself on the outer this Super Rugby Pacific season.
Campbell played the bulk of last week’s game against the NSW Waratahs with a broken hand, the wing even collecting an intercept to score at the death.
He and in-form back row forward Seru Uru (ankle) will miss the top-of-the-table clash with the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, with Daugunu and fellow fringe Wallaby Liam Wright the men to fill the void.
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto will also return via the bench from an ankle injury while hooker Richie Asiata will appear on the bench for the first time after breaking his arm in the pre-season.
Daugunu showed his explosive power and speed in a brilliant Test debut in New Zealand in 2020, but has often been his own worst enemy with reckless tackles and unforced errors.
“Lipo in for his 50th [Super Rugby game]. He’s a great character everyone’s excited for,” Wright said.
“He’s going to bring that typical flair he’s got, but he’s been working on reducing a few mistakes and being a composed member of the backline.
“Thorny’s been in his ear with that and he’s been training the house down.”
The visit will be the Brumbies’ first since the Reds sunk them with an 85th-minute try to win the Super Rugby AU title in a full stadium.
The home side has won 14 of their last 15 games despite the margin being five points or less in seven of their last eight clashes, including a controversial four-point win to the Brumbies in Canberra earlier this month.
“The AU final was an epic night and all the games we’ve had recently have been down to the wire,” Wright said.
“Some absolute classics in there.”
Jesse Mogg will wear the Brumbies’ No.15 for the first time since 2015, replacing the injured Tom Banks (cheekbone).
Meanwhile, Michael Hooper will play his first game for the Waratahs since 2020, returning as forecast on the bench to face the Fijian Drua on the Gold Coast on Friday.
“Having Hoops back in the team is a massive boost for us,” coach Darren Coleman said.
“To have one of the best players in the world return is really exciting not just for us but for our fans and we can’t wait to see him on the field this weekend wearing the sky blue.”