Reds change 2 for Highlanders
Brisbane - Reds head coach Brad Thorn has made two changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders at Suncorp Stadium (kick-off 11:45 SA time)
Up front, 19-year-old lock Harry Hockings earns his run-on debut and, in the backline, Izaia Perese returns to the wing.
The match will be Hockings’ ninth in Super Rugby, after making his debut off the bench in Round 3. He has been named to start ahead of Kane Douglas, who has moved to the bench.
Perese is back in the starting side for the first time since Round 10 and takes the place of first-year flyer Filipo Daugunu, who has dropped out of the match-day 23.
The Reds have opted for a six-two split on the bench, allowing the return of flanker Caleb Timu, who has recovered from an ankle injury suffered in their Round 11 win over the Lions.
“We’ve kept a pretty similar side to last week,” Thorn said. "Kane (Douglas) had a good game last week and he has been in strong form, but we felt the time was right to give Harry (Hockings) an opportunity to start.
He has been making great strides in his development and this is the next step for him. Kane will provide good impact off the bench.
"Izaia (Perese) has been working hard to get back to the form he showed us in the pre-season, before his knee injury. He has had some chances off the bench and now he gets another crack in the starting side.
"It’s good to see Caleb (Timu) return from injury too. He was in damaging form before that setback and hopefully he will bounce back quickly."
15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Harry Hockings, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith.
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Liam Wright, 22 Moses Sorovi, 23 Aidan Toua
15 Josh McKay, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 James Lentjes, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman