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

Queensland Reds head coach Brad Thorn has named his first team of the 2020 Super Rugby season for the sides opening round clash against the Brumbies in Canberra.

Up to five players could make their Queensland debuts with Brothers backrower Harry Wilson named at number-eight and Henry Speight selected on the wing against his former club.

Following standout performances in Queensland Premier Rugby that led to selection with Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship last year, Queensland pathway trio Dane Zander, Seru Uru, and Hunter Paisami could potentially also make their Queensland debuts after being named on the bench.

The Reds will be bolstered up-front with the return of props JP Smith and Feao Fotuaika from injury, while Izack Rodda will also make his comeback following routine off-season ankle surgery post the Rugby World Cup.

Queensland’s backline remains unchanged from last week’s pre-season win over the Waratahs in Dalby, with Isaac Lucas earning his second Super Rugby start in the number-10 jersey and James O’Connor partnering Jordan Petaia in an exciting centre-pairing combination.

Liam Wright will lead the team in his first Queensland-capped match as captain and will have the support of Rodda, Speight and Bryce Hegarty as part of the Reds leadership group this season.

“We’re excited for the season to start,” Thorn said.

“We have the Brumbies first-up and we look forward to a tough contest.

“Dalby and Gladstone had us for two trial games which were important hit-outs leading into the season.

“Five guys could make their Queensland debuts on Friday night which is an awesome thing to recognise.

“They’ve worked hard during the pre-season and deserve their selection.”

St.George Queensland Reds v Brumbies – GIO Stadium, Canberra on 31 January at 6:15pm AEST

1.    JP Smith – GPS 
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.    Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
10.    Isaac Lucas – Sunnybank 
11.    Henry Speight* – Bond University 
12.    James O’Connor – Brothers 
13.    Jordan Petaia – Wests 
14.    Jock Campbell – University of Queensland
15.    Bryce Hegarty – GPS 

16.    Alex Mafi – Bond University 
17.    Dane Zander** – Norths 
18.    Feao Fotuaika – GPS 
19.    Izack Rodda – Easts
20.    Seru Uru** – Easts 
21.    Moses Sorovi – Wests 
22.    Hamish Stewart – Brothers 
23.    Hunter Paisami** – Wests 

*denotes Queensland debut
**denotes potential Queensland debut

Queensland Country side names for Grand Final

The Bond University Queensland Country side has been named for their National Rugby Championship Grand Final clash against the Fijian Drua, this Saturday at Lautoka’s Churchill Park, kicking off at 1:30pm AEST (3:30pm Fiji time).

Head coach Rod Seib has only made one change to his side that claimed a 45-24 win over the Western Force in their semi-final last weekend on the Gold Coast.

Scrumhalf James Tuttle has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, ruling him out of the match.

Sunshine Coast product Tate McDermott will return to the starting line-up in the nine jersey, while Bond University’s Harry Nucifora has been named as cover in the reserves.

Saturday’s Grand Final will be Country’s second straight National Rugby Championship decider, having last year staged a come from behind 42-28 win over the Canberra Vikings in the ACT to claim their maiden title.

From the match-day 23 that contested last year’s Grand Final, eleven players are returning for their second grand final appearance, including Angus Scott-Young, Harry Hockings, Angus Blyth, Filipo Daugunu and McDermott, who went on to make their Super Rugby and St.George Queensland Reds debuts in 2018.

Country head into the match having only dropped two matches during the 2018 regular NRC season, and having previously accounted for the Fijian side in Mackay in Round 4.

However, the Drua haven’t lost a match at home this season, and pose a tough challenge for the reigning premiers.

“We are fully aware of the challenges ahead of us this weekend and have great respect for the Drua,” said Seib.

“Both teams have the ability to score from anywhere on the field, so the game should be a fantastic spectacle for all Rugby supporters.

“We take great confidence from the way in which we have prepared and played in our away games this season.

“Whilst there are extra challenges playing in Fiji, the team is looking forward to the opportunity this weekend.

“The Fijian’s passion for Rugby is well known around the world.

“Most elite Rugby teams around the world are influenced by team members with Fijian heritage.

“Our team is no different with Filipo Daugunu and Kirwan Sanday both set to start for us on the weekend.

“We’ve had great support from the Queensland Country Rugby community throughout the season, and we hope we can do all our supporters proud on the weekend as we chase a second straight title for Country.”

The 2018 NRC grand final will kick off at 1:30pm AEST on Saturday, and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Channel 503.

Queensland Country side to face Fijian Drua in NRC grand final:

1. James Slipper – Bond University/Gold Coast

2. Efi Ma’afu – Wests

3. Kirwan Sanday – Easts

4. Harry Hockings – Reds/University of Queensland – Bowen

5. Angus Blyth – Reds/Bond University – Gold Coast

6. Angus Scott-Young – Reds/University of Queensland

7. Tom Kibble – GPS

8. Caleb Timu – Reds/Souths

9. Tate McDermott – Reds/University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast

10. Hamish Stewart – Reds/Bond University – Pittsworth

11. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths

12. Duncan Paia’aua – Reds/Norths – Rockhampton

13. Jordan Petaia – Reds/Wests

14. Filipo Daugunu – Reds/Wests

15. Jock Campbell – University of Queensland – Gold Coast

Reserves

16. Richie Asiata – Easts

17. Harry Hoopert – Reds/Brothers – Jondaryn

18. Jake Simeon – Souths

19. Rob Puli’uvea – Wests

20. Harry Wilson – Brothers

21. Harry Nucifora – Bond – Gold Coast

22. Tom Lucas – Sunnybank – Rockhampton

23. Patrick James – Brothers

Queensland Country into National Rugby Championship Grand Final

Queensland Country have set up a grand final clash with the Fijian Drua after beating the Western Force 45 points to 24 in their National Rugby Championship semi final at Bond University on the Gold Coast.

Continue reading “Queensland Country into National Rugby Championship Grand Final”