Five players put pen to paper for Reds
NEWS: A further five players have re-committed to the Queensland Reds ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season.
Dynamic front-row pairing Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Feao Fotuaika, plus experienced utility back Bryce Hegarty have all re-signed for a further two years.
Queensland pathway product Hamish Stewart has put pen-to-paper for three years, while electric centre Chris Feauai-Sautia has extended his contract with the Reds for next year.
Their decision to stay at Ballymore follows recent long-term signings of eight fellow teammates who have also re-signed with the Reds.
NEWS | A further five players have re-committed to the https://t.co/4mSQR9jEpE Queensland Reds ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season, as the QRU continues to ensure the future development of elite Rugby talent in QLD.
— Queensland Reds (@Reds_Rugby) August 25, 2019
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s good to secure the future of these five men and keep them here in Queensland.
“There’s a good mix of talent and experience between them. They’re a hard-working group of men. Most of them have come through the system with Queensland at Schoolboys and Under-20s level, or through the NRC.
“The longer we can keep this same group of men here together, the better it will be for Queensland,” said Thorn.
Paenga-Amosa made his Queensland debut in the Reds opening game of 2018 and went on to make his maiden Australian appearance for the Wallabies in the same year during the June Test series against Ireland.
The hooker has four Test caps and has played 32 matches for Queensland. He finished the 2019 Super Rugby season as the equal second-highest try-scorer for the Reds with five tries.
Following three seasons at both the Rebels and Waratahs, Hegarty returned home to Brisbane this year and went on to make his Queensland debut in the Reds’ opening match of 2019 against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
He missed just the one match this season due to injury and finished the regular season as Super Rugby’s second-highest points scorer with 156 points – including seven tries, 32 conversions and 19 penalty goals.
Feauai-Sautia will enter his ninth season of Super Rugby as the Reds current longest-serving player at Ballymore after making his Queensland debut in 2012.
He went on to make his Australian debut the following year – playing two tests for the Wallabies and scoring a try in each match.
The Brisbane State High School product wound back the clock in 2019 and finished the regular season as the Reds’ equal-second highest try-scorer with five tries in 13 games to bring his overall Queensland cap tally to 70 matches.
Stewart made his Queensland debut in 2017 following an impressive campaign with the title-winning Brad Thorn-coached Queensland U20s side, as well the Junior Wallabies at the World Rugby U20s Championships in the same year.
Born and bred on the Darling Downs, the Queensland pathway product has gone on to represent the Reds in 28 matches – including 10 games this season.
Stewart has also proved handy with the boot during his three seasons at Queensland – highlighted this year when he calmly slotted the match-winning penalty on fulltime in Tokyo for a memorable come-from-behind win.
Fotuaika’s path to playing professional Rugby is a genuine feel-good story. Out of shape and lacking motivation, the big prop was on the verge of retirement until he was handed an opportunity of a lifetime.
Scouted by Reds physiotherapist and scrum coach Cameron Lillicrap while playing for Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship (NRC), Fotuaika joined the Queensland squad with the proviso he’d be handed a Reds contract if he lost 10 kilograms.
Under the strict regime of Reds Strength and Conditioning head coach Brynley Abad, Fotuaika lost an incredible 16 kilograms during this 2018/19 pre-season and went on to make his Super Rugby debut in the Reds’ opening game of the 2019 season against the Highlanders in Dunedin where he also crashed over for his maiden Super Rugby try.