The Queensland Reds will run out against the Rebels a vastly changed side from the outfit which was dismantled by the Waratahs last weekend.
In addition to welcoming back young star Jordan Petaia, who missed the SCG match due to the passing of his father last week, Reds coach Brad Thorn has shuffled both his backline and forward pack for Saturday’s game.
Tate McDermott comes back into the starting side after Scott Malolua was the preferred scrumhalf for the last two weeks, while Petaia’s return pushes Jock Campbell back to fullback and Bryce Hegarty to the bench.
Thorn has also reverted to the back-row combination which was so effective in the opening weeks of the competition, with skipper Liam Wright moving to blindside flanker to accommodate youngster Fraser McReight at openside. Angus Scott-Young drops to the bench, while Jack Straker will start at tighthead prop for Dane Zander.
Thorn’s opposite, Dave Wessels, has decided to keep with the Andrew Deegan-Matt To’omua combination at flyhalf and inside centre which worked so well in the Rebels’ upset over the Brumbies last week.
The rest of the backline is unchanged, too, although there are a couple of changes in the pack, with Pone Fa’amausili into the starting side at loosehead and Charles Abel and Michael Wells joining the bench. Jermaine Ainsley and Rob Leota drop out of the matchday squad.
In the earlier Round 7 match, both the Force and Rebels welcome back their captains to the starting line-ups.
Rob Simmons was a late scratching last week, although Waratahs fans would be surprised to see him come back at the expense of Ned Hanigan, who was outstanding in the second row against the Reds. He’ll come off the bench against the Rebels, while Jed Holloway drops out altogether. Rob Penney’s only other changes see Robbie Abel replace Andrew Tuala as reserve hooker, and Harry Johnson-Holmes swap places with Tetera Faulkner.
Ian Prior is back starting at halfback after missing the last two Force matches. The skipper is one of four inclusions for Tim Sampson’s men, with Jake Strachan another addition to the run-on side at fullback, and Nick Jooste and Ollie Atkins named on the pine. Pek Cowan comes into the starting front-row, pushing Chris Heiberg to the bench.
Tevin Ferris, Marcel Brache, Henry Taefu and Jacob Abel are the ommissions, while Jack McGregor has dropped onto the bench.
Friday, 7:05pm, CBUS Super Stadium
1. Pek Cowan, 2. Feleto Kaitu’u, 3. Kieran Longbottom, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Fergus Lee Warner, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Kane Koteka, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Ian Prior (c), 10. Jono Lance, 11. Brad Lacey, 12. Richard Kahui, 13. Kyle Godwin, 14. Byron Ralston, 15. Jake Strachan
Bench: 16. Andrew Ready, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Tom Sheminant, 19. Johan Bardoul, 20. Ollie Atkins, 21. Nick Frisby, 22. Nick Jooste, 23. Jack McGregor
1. Tom Robertson, 2. Ton Horton, 3. Te Tera Faulkner, 4. Tom Staniforth, 5. Rob Simmons (c), 6. Lachie Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Jack Dempsey, 9. Jake Gordon, 10. Will Harrison, 11. Alex Newsome, 12. Karmichael Hunt, 13. Lalakai Foketi, 14. James Ramm, 15. Jack Maddocks
Bench: 16. Robert Abel, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 19. Ned Hanigan, 20. Hugh Sinclair, 21. Mitch Short, 22. Ben Donaldson, 23. Joey Walton
Saturday, 7:15pm, Suncorp Stadium
1. Jack Straker, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Liam Wright (c), 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. James O’Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Jordan Petaia, 15. Jock Campbell
Bench: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. Jethro Felemi, 18. Zane Nonggor, 19. Tuaina Tali Tualima, 20. Angus Scott-Young, 21. Scott Malolua, 22. Bryce Hegarty, 23. Josh Flook
1. Cameron Orr, 2. Jordan Uelese, 3. Pone Fa’amausili, 4. Matt Philip, 5. Trevor Hosea, 6. Josh Kemeny, 7. Brad Wilkin, 8. Isi Naisarani, 9. Frank Lomani, 10. Andrew Deegan, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Matt To’omua (c), 13. Campbell Magnay, 14. Andrew Kellaway, 15. Reece Hodge
Bench: 16. Efitusi Maafu, 17. Cabous Eloff, 18. Charles Abel, 19. Esei Ha’angana, 20. Michael Wells, 21. Richard Hardwick, 22. James Tuttle, 23. Billy Meakes