Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs: Old enemies launch new Super Rugby AU competition

Reds coach Brad Thorn says there’s no better way to start the Super Rugby AU season than a traditional Queensland-NSW grudge match at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Thorn has named his squad for the battle, with lock Tuaina Taii Tualima and outside-back Josh Flook a chance to make their Queensland debuts after both being named on the bench.

In a reshuffled forward pack, captain Liam Wright moves to blindside flanker, with openside flanker to make his Fraser McReight his first start for Queensland.

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Having overcome a torn MCL, Harry Wilson will pack down at No.8.

Reds skipper Liam Wright is ready for the Waratahs. Picture: AAP Image/Darren EnglandSource:AAP

Angus Blyth teams with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto in the second-row. In the front row, Brandon Paenga-Amosa returns from an ankle injury to line-up alongside Harry Hoopert and Taniela Tupou.

Tate McDermott will partner James O’Connor in the halves, while Hamish Stewart and Hunter Paisami named in the centres.

Jock Campbell has been shifted to the wing, with Bryce Hegarty chosen at fullback.

Thorn said the Reds were ready to fire after four months without a competitive match due to COVID-19.

“We’re pumped to be back playing Rugby again this week,” Thorn said.

“We’ve been in a moment of history – 100 years since the Spanish flu. It’s been a tough four months, but as group – both players and staff, we’ve worked hard for each other and adapted to the challenges.

“It doesn’t get any better than playing the Waratahs in the season opener. Queensland v New South Wales – there’s plenty of tradition there. It’s a great rivalry and we look forward to continuing that on Friday night.”

The teams met in a trial in Dalby in January, with the Reds ending an 11-match losing streak against the Waratahs with a 28-19 win.

Reds team for Friday’s match against the Waratahs

1. Harry Hoopert, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Liam Wright ©, 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. James O’Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Jock Campbell, 15. Bryce Hegarty. Bench: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. JP Smith, 18. Josh Nasser, 19. Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20. Angus Scott-Young, 21. Scott Malolua, 22. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 23. Josh Flook.

Originally published asOld enemies, new beginnings as rugby relaunches at Suncorp

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