Vintage Reds XV to take on Tongan Invitational XV to raise funds for the Tonga recovery effort

Queensland Rugby legends will come together next month to raise funds for the Tongan recovery effort with a Vintage Reds XV set to take on a Tongan Invitational side at Suncorp Stadium.

The fixture, which will kick-off before the Queensland Reds’ Super Rugby Pacific opener against the Melbourne Rebels, will see the likes of James Horwill, Scott Higginbotham and David Croft lace up the boots for the Vintage Reds, while George Smith, Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri will feature for the Tongan side coached by Toutai Kefu.

Public donations generated by this special invitational game will be directed towards supporting the Tongan recovery effort following the explosion of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano and subsequent tsunami in January 2022.

Reds General Manager – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “Our hearts go out to those impacted by the disaster in Tonga.

“As a Rugby community, plenty of us and the people around us have been directly affected by this event, so we’re really looking forward to raising some much-needed funds.

“Personally, I can’t wait to watch some of the greats of our game back on the turf of Suncorp Stadium raising money for a great cause.”

Tonga Invitational XV coach and former Reds backrower Toutai Kefu said: “It means a great deal to me, my family and my community to get the opportunity to raise some funds for our people.

“Our country has been devastated by this disaster, so every cent we can raise counts.

“We’ve got some great players strapping on the boots for both teams and it’s going to be a great spectacle with some great Rugby played.”

The 40-minute match, made up of two 20-minute halves, will kick-off at 5pm on Saturday February 19 at Suncorp Stadium before the Reds take on the Rebels at 6:45pm.

It is an opportunity for the Rugby Union community in Queensland to convey their heartfelt solidarity with the Tongan people during this extremely difficult time. The public will be encouraged to donate funds towards a direct impact, on-ground organisation who are assisting the recovery of homes and lives devastated by the effects of the recent volcanic eruption. A formal announcement on this organisation and how the Rugby community can donate directly to the organisation will be announced soon.

Reds announce Round 5 team against Brumbies

The Queensland Reds will welcome back strike weapons Jordan Petaia and Feao Fotuaika for their top-of-the-table clash against the Brumbies on Saturday night.

Petaia will make his much-anticipated return from a dislocated shoulder suffered in Buenos Aires five months ago, while Fotuaika makes his comeback from a foot injury he aggravated in Round 1 of the suspended Super Rugby season against the Brumbies back in January this year.

The duo’s inclusion are two of eight changes to Queensland’s 23 for this weekend’s clash in the nation’s capital.

Dane Zander will start at loose head prop with Harry Hoopert set to be sidelined for another four-to-five weeks with an MCL injury suffered against the Force in Round 3.

Angus Blyth has overcome a shoulder injury and re-takes his place in the second row alongside Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.

It sees a reshuffle to the back row as Angus Scott-Young shifts from lock to blindside flanker and captain Liam Wright will wear his familiar number seven jersey again.

There’s just one change to the back line with Scott Malolua earning his third start of 2020 and first in Vodafone Super Rugby AU at scrumhalf.

Malolua’s elevation means Tate McDermott will provide impact off the bench as a finisher alongside Fraser McReight, plus Petaia and Fotuaika.

“The Brumbies in Canberra is always a tough game,” said Reds head coach Brad Thorn.

“They’re in strong form and we look forward to a tough contest.

“It’s exciting to have Jordan and Feao back in the team.

“They’ve been out since the start of the year and have worked hard to get back in shape.

“They’re two quality players and we can’t wait to see them out there on Saturday night.

“We’ve also got Angus Blyth back and then there’s fellow lock Ryan Smith who could make his Queensland debut off the bench which is exciting too.”

Queensland play the Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra on Saturday night at 7:15pm AEST.

St.George Queensland Reds v Brumbies – GIO Stadium, Canberra on 1 August at 7:15pm AEST
1. Dane Zander – Norths
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank
3. Taniela Tupou – Brothers
4. Angus Blyth – Bond University
5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths
6. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
7. Liam Wright – Easts ©
8. Harry Wilson – Brothers
9. Scott Malolua – GPS
10. James O’Connor – Brothers
11. Filipo Daugunu – Wests
12. Hamish Stewart – Brothers
13. Hunter Paisami – Wests
14. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths
15. Jock Campbell – University of Queensland 
16. Alex Mafi – Bond University
17. Feao Fotuaika – GPS
18. Jack Straker – GPS
19. Ryan Smith* – Brothers
20. Fraser McReight – Brothers
21. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
22. Bryce Hegarty – GPS
23. Jordan Petaia – Wests 

Queensland Reds open Super Rugby AU campaign with 32-26 win over New South Wales

The Queensland Reds have defeated the New South Wales Waratahs 32-26 in the opening fixture of the Super Rugby AU competition, snapping a seven-year, 11-game losing streak against their historical rivals.

Despite leading at half-time, Queensland trailed early in the second half before a pair of James O’Connor penalty goals kicked the side to a six-point win.

Liam Wright, Filipo Daugunu, Tate McDermott and Harry Wilson all crossed for tries in the victory, while the night was extra special for towering GPS lock Tuaina Taii Tualima, who made his Queensland debut with Fraser McReight also making his starting debut in the maroon jersey.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “To get that win over New South Wales – I think it was seven long years to get this (Bob Templeton) Cup so we’re very happy.

“It feels really good to have it (Bob Templeton Cup) back and it went down to the wire there and James stepped up there a couple of times – he was ice cool to kick those goals.

“There were no trial games for both sides and it was their first hit-out. I think you’ll see it get better as the games go on.

“Tuaina Tualima congratulations to him. We backed him to do his role. He got around the park and did a good job,” said Thorn.

Wright opened the Reds’ account in just the fifth minute of play, the captain charging onto a centimetre perfect McDermott short ball to score Queensland’s first points of the new competition. Bryce Hegarty added the extras to give the home side an early 7-nil advantage.

NSW hit back quickly through prop Harry Johnson-Holmes who burrowed through the Queensland line from close range to even the scores at 7-all in the 10th minute.

A Daugunu try recaptured the Queensland lead in the 17th minute, the flying winger stepping his way across the line off the back of an O’Connor cut-out pass to see the score at 12-7.

Waratahs prop Angus Bell was shown a yellow card in the 28th minute after a series of dominant Queensland scrums on the five-metre line and McDermott quickly capitalised on his side’s advantage. The livewire scrumhalf took a quick tap to catch the visitors’ defence napping and score Queensland’s third try. Hegarty slotted his second conversion of the night to put the Reds advantage out to 19-7.

A pair of Will Harrison penalty goals cut the Reds lead to six in the final ten minutes of the opening half, as Queensland headed to the sheds with a 19-13 advantage.

Harrison’s third penalty goal of the match brought the visitors within three points early in the second stanza, before a Jack Maddocks five-pointer gave the Waratahs their first lead of the game in the 48th minute, Harrison’s conversion making the score 23-19.

Wilson bulldozed his way through the New South Wales defence from close to the line to score and regain Queensland’s lead at 26- 23 with 15 minutes to play, before Taniela Tupou was yellow carded minutes later for a late tackle.

Harrison responded with his fourth penalty goal soon after, with the scores locked at 26-all with 13 minutes to play.

The one-man disadvantage failed to stop the Queensland side, as O’Connor kicked the Reds back in front with a penalty goal in the 76th minute.

A second O’Connor penalty made sure of the result after the siren, as the Reds claimed a memorable 32-26 win in the first instalment of the Super Rugby AU.

Queensland travel south next week to take on the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney.

St.George Queensland Reds 32 (Tries: Wright, Daugunu, McDermott, Wilson, Conversions: Hegarty 3, Penalties: O’Connor 2) defeated NSW Waratahs 26 (Tries: Johnson-Holmes, Maddocks, Conversions: Harrison 2, Penalties: Harrison 4) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on 3 July, 2020. Crowd: 5,590