The Queensland Reds have made two changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s clash against the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium.
Twin brothers, JP and Ruan Smith will both start in the frontrow this weekend, with fellow props Taniela Tupou on the bench and Feao Fotuaika ruled out after fracturing his thumb against the Brumbies.
“It’s disappointing losing Feao,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said.
“He’s a big loss for us.
“As he’s done all year, he’ll continue to work hard to get back playing as soon as he can.
“We’ve got a great support team here with [physio] Cameron Lillicrap and [strength and conditioning coach] Brynley Abad who will ensure he returns even fitter and stronger.
“The Smith boys get the opportunity to start this week after their good performance in Tokyo, with Taniela moving to the bench.
“Our bench/finishers have been a real strength for us when they’ve come and have made an impact for us.”
Tate McDermott has retained his starting spot at number nine alongside flyhalf Bryce Hegarty in an unchanged Reds backline.
Tupou is only the difference to the reserves, as Queensland look to make it three straight wins this season with victory on Saturday night.
“The Rebels will be a tough assignment as they have plenty of threats, but our main focus has been on us and growing our game,” Thorn said
“We love playing at home in front of our people and we hope there’s good a crowd on Saturday night.
Following the Reds upset win over the Rebels in the penultimate round of Super Rugby last year, Queensland are aiming to record back-to-back wins against Melbourne for the first time since 2013.
Queensland Reds v Rebels – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on March 30 at 6:45pm AEST
1. JP Smith – GPS
2. Alex Mafi – Bond University
3. Ruan Smith – GPS
4. Izack Rodda – Easts
5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths
6. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
7. Liam Wright – Easts
8. Scott Higginbotham – Wests
9. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
10. Bryce Hegarty – GPS
11. Sefa Naivalu – TBC
12. Samu Kerevi (c) – Souths
13. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths
14. Filipo Daugunu – Wests
15. Hamish Stewart – Bond University
16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank
17. Harry Hoopert – Brothers
18. Taniela Tupou – Brothers
19. Harry Hockings – University of Queensland
20. Fraser McReight – Brothers
21. Moses Sorovi – Wests
22. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths
23. Isaac Lucas – Sunnyban