The line-ups for Round 10 of Super Rugby AU are in.
The Western Force have been given a big boost with star fullback Rob Kearney cleared to make his return to the side. The former Ireland international hasn’t played since suffering an adductor injury in the first half of the season, but will take his place at the back on Friday night.
Also returning to the Force line-up is winger Toni Pulu, who had been sidelined since Round 4. He comes straight back into the XV, forcing Richard Kahui to the bench, while Greg Holmes starts at tighthead prop in place of Santiago Medrano.
The Reds have been able to call up some big names of their own, with Liam Wright named in the run-on side for the first time this season. He starts at blindside flanker, taking back the captaincy from James O’Connor and pushing Angus Scott-Young to the second row.
Filipo Daugunu has been promoted to the starting XV after an impressive last performance from the bench, and Hunter Paisami has been given the green light to return from the injury which kept him out of the Reds’ last win over the Brumbies.
Jock Campbell is out of the side with a groin niggle.
In Saturday night’s clash between the Rebels and Waratahs, Melbourne will be without the services of the suspended Trevor Hosea, but do welcome big back-rower Isi Naisarani back into the starting forward pack after he came off the bench last week. The last time Naisarani started a match for the Rebels was in last year’s preliminary final loss to the Reds.
Ross Haylett-Petty starts at lock in place of Hosea, while Naisarani’s return has pushed Michael Wells to blindside flanker with Brad Wilkin at openside and Richard Hardwick and Josh Kemeny on the bench.
Youngster Carter Gordon looks set for his first Super Rugby appearance from amongst the reserves, while a reshuffled front row of Cameron Orr, Jordan Uelese and Cabous Eloff will lead the Melbourne scrum.
The Waratahs, meanwhile, have retained the same XV which went down in a thriller to the Force last week. There are two changes to the bench for the Tahs: Michael Wood replacing Sam Caird and Joe Cotton coming in for the injured Tom Horton.
Friday, 7:45pm (AEST), HBF Park
1-15: Tom Robertson, Feleti Kaitu’u, Greg Holmes, Jeremy Thrush, Sitaleki Timani, Tim Anstee, Kane Koteka, Brynard Stander, Tomas Cubelli, Domingo Miotti, Jordan Olawofela, Kyle Godwin (c), Tevita Kuridrani, Toni Pulu, Rob Kearney
Bench: Andrew Ready, Angus Wagner, Santiago Medrano, Ryan McCauly, Fergus Lee-Warner, Ian Prior, Richard Kahui, Jack McGregor
In: Toni Pulu, Rob Kearney
Out: Grason Makara, Jake Strachan
1-15: Feao Fotuaika, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Liam Wright (c), Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Filipo Daugunu, Hamish Stewart, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Bryce Hegarty
Bench: Alex Mafi, Richie Asiata, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Kalani Thomas, Josh Flook, Ilaisa Droasese
In: Hunter Paisami, Ilaisa Droasese
Out: Jock Campbell, Lawson Creighton
Saturday, 7:45pm (AEST), Bankwest Stadium
(1-15): Angus Bell, Dave Porecki, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hugh Sinclair, Max Douglas, Lachlan Swinton, Carlo Tizzano, Will Harris, Jake Gordon (c), Ben Donaldson, James Ramm, Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Alex Newsome, Jack Maddocks
Bench: Joe Cotton, Tetera Faulkner, Darcy Breen, Jeremy Williams, Michael Wood, Charlie Gamble, Jack Grant, Tane Edmed
In: Joe Cotton, Micahel Wood
Out: Tom Horton, Sam Caird
(1-15): Cameron Orr, Jordan Uelese, Cabous Eloff, Rob Leota, Ross Haylett-Petty, Michael Wells, Brad Wilkin, Isi Naisarani, Joe Powell, Matt To’omua (c), Marika Koroibete, Campbell Magnay, Stacey Ili, Frank Lomani, Tom Pincus
Bench: James Hanson, Matt Gibbon, Pone Fa’amausili, Steve Cummins, Richard Hardwick, Josh Kemeny, Carter Gordon, George Worth
In: Carter Gordon, George Worth, Steve Cummins
Out: Trevor Hosea, Lewis Holland, Glen Vaihu