Reds change two for Melbourne showdown
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Queensland Reds have made two changes to their starting XV for Friday’s match against the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
JP Smith will start in the front row while Angus Blyth will make his first Super Rugby start at lock.
There are a further four changes to the reserves, as Smith and Blyth’s promotion sees Harry Hoopert and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto on the bench.
Caleb Timu is back in the Reds’ 23 after serving a club rugby suspension, while Isaac Lucas returns following a title-winning campaign with the Junior Wallabies at the Oceania Under-20s Championship.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “The Rebels are a tough opposition. They’ve only lost one game at home this year and will be looking for a good performance in front of their fans.
“As part of our squad rotation, Harry Hoopert and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto will come off the bench as finishers this week. It sees JP Smith start at loosehead prop and Angus Blyth in the starting side for the first time.
“A big well done to Angus. This’ll be his fourth game for Queensland. He’s come through the Queensland U20s and the NRC for Queensland Country. He’s worked hard for this opportunity and we’re proud of him.
“It’s good to have Caleb and Isaac available for selection. Isaac returns after winning the U20s Championship alongside four other Reds squad members Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Josh Nasser and Michael Wood. It’s the highest honour to represent your country and as a group we congratulate them,” said Thorn.
Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (captain), 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Isaac Lucas.
Date: Friday, May 10
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off: 19.45 (09.45 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)