The teams for Round 2 of Super Rugby AU have been announced, with the Waratahs making a host of changes for their meeting with the settled Brumbies, and the Rebels naming their first line-up of the year.
Coming off a demoralising Round 1 loss which resulted in a number of injuries to key players, Waratahs coach Rob Penney has made a number of changes to his side.
Alex Newsome is the team’s new captain after Jake Gordon’s first Super Rugby game as skipper ended with a syndesmosis injury which will keep him out for around two months.
Newsome has moved from the wing to outside centre following Izaia Perese’s suspension, while Tepai Moeroa comes into the 12 jersey for the injured Joey Walton. Jack Grant starts at halfback in place of Gordon, Mark Nawaqanitawase comes into the starting XV on the wing, and Henry Robertson joins the bench.
There is some good news for Tahs fans further up the teamsheet thanks to Lachie Swinton’s return. The big blindside flanker was suspended for Round 1 following his red card on Wallabies debut last year, but makes his return for Saturday night’s match, coming straight back into the side at number six. Jack Dempsey and Carlo Tizzano stay at number eight and openside respectively, while Will Harris misses out entirely.
The selection story couldn’t be more different for the Waratahs’ opponents on Saturday night. The Brumbies have made just one change to their side: Folau Fainga’a has been ruled out with a troublesome toe, pushing Connal McInerney into the number two jersey and Lachlan Lonergan onto the bench.
In the early game of the round, star signing Suliasi Vunivalu is the big inclusion for the Reds after missing the side’s season opener due to suspension. The league convert will make his Super Rugby debut on the bench in place of Ilaisa Droasese, while last year’s player of the season, Taniela Tupou, gets his first run-on start of the year. Feao Fotuaika moves to the reserves to make way for the Wallabies prop.
Substitute forwards Josh Nasser and Sam Wallis are the other two inclusions for Brad Thorn’s men, coming in for Richie Asiata and Tuaina Taii Tualima.
The Melbourne Rebels have opted for Reece Hodge at inside centre for their first game of the season in order to bolster a midfield missing the injured Cameron Magnay, on top of the off-season departure of Billy Meakes.
New signing Joe Powell partners captain Matt To’omua in the halves, with Marika Koroibete on the wing opposite Lachland Anderson and Tom Pincus slotting in at fullback. Stacey Ili partners Hodge in the centres.
Up front, Cabous Eloff and Pone Faamausili start at prop either side of hooker Jordan Uelese, and Steve Cummins joins last year’s boom rookie Trevor Hosea in the second row. Coach Dave Wessels has opted to go for dual opensides in a loose trio of Brad Wilkin, Richard Hardwick and Michael Wells.
Suncorp Stadium, Friday 7:45pm (AEDT)
1-15: Dane Zander, Alex Mafi, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Seru Uru, Angus Scott-Young, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor (c), Filipo Daugunu, Hamish Stewart, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Jock Campbell
Bench: Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Feao Fotuaika, Ryan Smith, Sam Wallis, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Suliasi Vunivalu
In: Josh Nasser, Sam Wallis, Suliasi Vunivalu
Out: Richie Asiata, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Ilaisa Droasese
1-15: Cabous Eloff, Jordan Uelese, Pone Faamausili, Steve Cummins, Trevor Hosea, Brad Wilkin, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Joe Powell, Matt To’omua (c), Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge, Stacey Ili, Lachlan Anderson, Tom Pincus
Bench: Ed Craig, Isaac Aedo Kailea, Rhys van Nek, Rob Leota, Josh Kemeny, James Tuttle, Glen Vaihu, Frank Lomani
GIO Stadium, Saturday 7:45pm
1-15: James Slipper, Connal McInerney, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Darcy Swain, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Jahrome Brown, Pete Samu, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Mack Hansen, Irae Simone, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead, Tom Banks
Bench: Lachlan Lonergan, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Tom Cusack, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
In: Lachlan Lonergan
Out: Folau Fainga’a
1-15: Angus Bell, Tom Horton, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Sam Caird, Jack Whetton, Lachlan Swinton, Carlo Tizzano, Jack Dempsey, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, James Ramm, Tepai Moeroa, Alex Newsome (c), Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jack Maddocks
Reserves: David Porecki, Tetera Faulkner, Sio Tatola, Jeremy Williams, Hugh Sinclair, Henry Robertson, Tane Edmed, Triston Reilly
In: Lachlan Swinton, Tepai Moeroa, Triston Reilly, Henry Robertson
Out: Will Harris, Jake Gordon, Joey Walton, Izaia Perese