Reds stick with winning formula for semifinal
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Queensland Reds have made no changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s Super Rugby AU semifinal against the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium.
Searching for their fifth straight win at home to remain unbeaten in Brisbane this season, Reds head coach Brad Thorn decided to keep the same starting side for this weekend’s Grand Final qualifier with just two changes on the bench.
Jack Straker replaces fellow GPS front rower Ruan Smith as Queensland’s replacement tighthead prop, while hooker Alex Mafi returns to the 23 from a hamstring injury.
It’s set to be a special day for Mafi, as well as Lukhan Salakaia-Loto who will both celebrate their 50th cap for Queensland in front of family, friends and fans.
“We’re unbeaten at home this season and hoping for another big crowd,” said Thorn.
“Queenslanders are some of the most passionate people and we thank our loyal fans for their support. We’d love a sea of maroon there on Saturday night – Queenslanders supporting Queenslanders.
“Finals footy – this is what we play for. Melbourne are a quality team and we’re expecting a tough contest.
“Well done to Alex and Lukhan on their 50th cap. It’s a great achievement to play 50 games for your state and as a group we congratulate them both,” said Thorn.
The winner of Saturday’s match will qualify for the Super Rugby AU Grand Final against the Brumbies in Canberra next Saturday.
Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Harry Hoopert.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Jack Straker, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Hunter Paisami.
Date: Saturday, September 12
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.15 (09.15 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy, Jordan way
TMO: Brett Cronan