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Super Rugby Pacific round 12 continues as the Queensland Reds taking on the Highlanders in a must win game at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Join The Roar for live scores from 7:45pm AEST.
After a good win over the Brumbies in round seven, the Reds have struggled with form and even when they’ve won, they haven’t looked confident. The loss of key players, especially James O’Connor, has really impacted their fluid style of play and although others have stepped up, especially the likes of Fraser McReight, the team have lost two in a row and are slipping down the ladder.
The good news for the team and the fans is that Jordan Petaia, Suli Vunivalu, Seru Uru and Lukhan Salakaia-Lotoare back from injury and rejoin the starting line up tonight as coach Brad Thorn makes five changes. Unfortunately JOC is still out as are Taniela Tupou and Hunter Paisami.
That’s a lot of experience and go forward that is going to be missing from the Reds and while the Highlanders have been having their own struggles, the Reds won’t feel overly confident going into tonight’s game.
The Highlanders have promoted flanker James Lentjes to co captain alongside All Black Aaron Smith who has struggled to find his best form this season. Lentjes will have a big battle ahead of him against the Reds back row which has been one of the highlights of their season.
With the Highlanders continuing to be impacted by injuries that see key players such as Shannon Frizell missing, they are definitely having a tough season with just two wins so far.
A win against the Reds would be a fantastic way to bring some confidence and momentum back to the Kiwi side but it’s going to be a tough assignment. There’s some wet weather forecast so the set piece battle is likely to be even more crucial than usual.
Reds (1-15): Harry Hoopert, Richie Asiata, Feao Fotuaika, Ryan Smith, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Seru Uru, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (c), Lawson Creighton, Jordan Petaia, Hamish Stewart, Hunter Paisami, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell.
RESERVES: Matt Faessler, Dane Zander, Albert Anae, Angus Blyth, Angus Scott-Young, Spencer Jeans, Josh Flook, Filipo Daugunu.
Highlanders (1-15): Ethan de Groot, Liam Coltman, Jermaine Ainsley, Bryn Evans, Josh Dickson, James Lentjes (co-c), Billy Harmon, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Aaron Smith (co-c), Mitch Hunt, Scott Gregory, Fetuli Paea, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Sam Gilbert, Connor Garden-Bachop.
RESERVES: Rhys Marshall, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Saula Mau, Max Hicks, Hugh Renton, Folau Fakatava, Marty Banks, Mosese Dawai.