Wed 17 Feb 2021 | 11:40

O'Connor to lead Reds against Waratahs

O'Connor to lead Reds against Waratahs
Wed 17 Feb 2021 | 11:40
O'Connor to lead Reds against Waratahs
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Queensland Reds head coach Brad Thorn has named his first team of the 2021 Super Rugby AU season for Friday’s season opener against the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.

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Up to three players could potentially make their Super Rugby and Queensland debuts with hooker Richie Asiata, lock Ryan Smith and outside back Ilaisa Droasese all named on the bench.

It’s set to be a memorable outing for starting hooker Alex Mafi who will celebrate his 50th cap for Queensland.

Tighthead prop Feao Fotuaika will play his first game of Rugby in more than 12 after overcoming a foot injury suffered against the Brumbies at GIO Stadium back in January last year.

The versatile Seru Uru will add to his two Queensland caps after being named at lock with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto currently suspended after he was shown a red-card during the Wallabies draw with Argentina late last year.

Angus Scott-Young will start at blindside flank in the absence of captain Liam Wright who is sidelined with a high-ankle sprain.

Stand-in skipper James O’Connor will again partner Tate McDermott in the halves, while Queensland’s backline boasts three Australian Test stars as Filipo Daugunu and Jordan Petaia present a formidable sight on either wing with Hunter Paisami at outside centre.

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“How good is to have rugby back,” said Thorn.

“It’s the first time in four years we’ve had a home game to kick-off the season, so we’re looking forward to playing some entertaining footy in front our Queensland fans.

“Three guys could make their debuts which is a great thing to recognise. They’ve worked hard in the pre-season and deserve their selection.

“Alex Mafi will also play his 50th game for Queensland which is an awesome achievement. As a group we congratulate him on reaching this milestone.

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“The Waratahs will provide a tough contest. There’s plenty of tradition and rivalry between the two teams as well, so we’re looking forward to a good hit-out on Friday,” Thorn added.

The Reds will be looking to reclaim the Bob Templeton Cup with victory at Suncorp Stadium after New South Wales won back the cup following their win at the SCG in August last year.

Queensland Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor (captain), 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Seru Uru, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Feao Fotuaika, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Dane Zander.
Replacements: 16 Richie Asiata, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Ryan Smith, 20 Tuania Taii Tualima, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Ilaisa Droasese

Date: Friday, February 19
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 18.45 (08.45)
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant referees: Nic Berry & Jordan Way
TMO: Brett Cronan

PV: 41
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O'Connor to lead Reds against Waratahs | Rugby365