Reds rest Wallabies duo for Sunwolves clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Queensland Reds have made five changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s showdown against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.
In accordance with Rugby Australia’s workload management policy this year, Wallabies Spring tourists Taniela Tupou and Izack Rodda have been rested for this weekend.
The two forced changes see Ruan Smith partner his twin brother JP in the front row and Angus Scott-Young off the bench and into the back row, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto shifting to lock.
Alex Mafi will make his first run-on start at hooker for 2019, as Brandon Paenga-Amosa drops to the bench.
Isaac Lucas will wear the No.10 jersey, while Hamish Stewart is back in the starting side at fullback.
In addition to Paenga-Amosa, there’s a further four changes to the Reds interchange.
Prop Feao Fotuaika has been recalled this weekend, with lock Angus Blyth, flyhalf Teti Tela and outside back Filipo Daugunu all included in the Reds 23 for the first time this season.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “Our performance was disappointing last week in Sydney. We can’t afford another slow start. The Sunwolves are a side who have improved greatly in the past two years.
“This week is a pre-determined rest match by Rugby Australia for those two players. We’ve got good depth with Ruan and Angus [Scott-Young] able to slot straight in there, as well as having Lukhan’s versatility across the second and back row.
“We’ve decided to rest Bryce this weekend to let him recover from a niggling rib injury. Isaac has played some quality Rugby in his three appearances this season. He’s played at 10 for most of his junior footy, so this is nothing new for him.
“Feao returns this week on the bench. It’s great to have Blythy, Teti and Filipo back in the side. They’ve been working hard at training and deserve their spot this week,” said Thorn.
Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi (captain), 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Isaac Lucas, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Harry Hockings, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Feao Fotuaika, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Filipo Daugunu.
Date: Saturday, March 16
Venue: Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 13.15 (14.15 Queensland time; 04.15 GMT)
Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Aki Aso (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)