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    Reds move O'Connor to flyhalf for Lions clash

    2020-02-06 08:54

    Johannesburg - The Reds have made four changes to their starting XV for Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Lions at Ellis Park.

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    Utility back James O'Connor switches from inside-centre to flyhalf in what will be his second start in the Reds' No 10 jersey after he made his debut for the Queensland franchise in the same position back in Round 3 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

    Hamish Stewart comes off the bench and slots into the vacant No 12 spot, while lock Izack Rodaa will also earn his first start of the season.

    Alex Mafi will start at hooker following an ankle injury to Brandon Paenga-Amosa during last week’s clash in Canberra.

    Following consultation with a surgeon in Brisbane, Paenga-Amosa will be sidelined for the next six-to-eight weeks after suffering ligament damage.

    In one-of-four changes to the bench, potential Super Rugby debutant Sean Farrell comes into the match-day 23 as a replacement at hooker.

    Prop Josh Nasser has also been brought-in this week, and like Farrell, could possibly make his Reds debut as well.

    While lock Angus Blyth and utility back Isaac Lucas will both come-on as finishers in Saturday’s Round 2 fixture.

    "We've got a tough game against the Lions at Ellis Park. They've been a good side over the past half-decade, and it’ll be a tough contest," head coach Brad Thorn told the Reds' official website.

    "We arrived in Johannesburg reasonably early after the Brumbies game. Since being here we’ve been acclimatising and started our preparation.

    "As far as this trip - a 'round the world trip, no other sport really does it, let alone a contact sport. So, if you can get a victory on this trip you can call that a success," said Thorn.

    Saturday's clash is scheduled for 15:05.

    Teams:

    Lions

    15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Duncan Matthews, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Martin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Dylan Smith

    Substitutes: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Ruan Vermaak, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Manny Rass, 23 Shaun Reynolds

    Reds

    15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Henry Speight, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (captain), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith

    Substitutes: 16 Sean Farrell, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Josh Nasser, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Seru Uru, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Isaac Lucas, 23 Hunter Paisami

    - Reds Rugby

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    Fixtures

    Friday, 28 February 2020
    • Highlanders v Rebels, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:05
    • Waratahs v Lions, Bankwest Stadium 10:15
    Saturday, 29 February 2020
    • Hurricanes v Sunwolves, McLean Park 05:45
    • Reds v Sharks, Suncorp Stadium 10:15
    • Stormers v Blues, Cape Town 15:05
    • Bulls v Jaguares, Loftus Versfeld 17:15
    Friday, 06 March 2020
    • Crusaders v Reds, Orangetheory Stadium 08:05
    • Waratahs v Chiefs, WIN Stadium 10:15

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