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    Samu Kerevi hits 50 for Reds

    2018-04-05 08:49

    Canberra - Centre Samu Kerevi will earn his 50th Reds cap in Canberra, while Scott Higginbotham will resume the captaincy as he returns to the starting number eight role. 

    The Reds have made three personnel changes to the starting XV which suffered a narrow loss to the Stormers two weeks ago, with Higginbotham, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Eto Nabuli returning. 

    Higginbotham’s promotion has seen a shuffle in the back row, with Caleb Timu moving to blindside flanker and promising youngster Angus Scott-Young dropping out of the 23. 

    Nabuli’s move back to the starting wing sees Chris Feauai-Sautia shift to the centres to build on his combination with Kerevi, with Duncan Paia’aua dropping out of the 23. 

    The Reds have also made a number of changes to the bench, most notably bringing in 18-year-old outside back Jordan Petaia for his potential Reds and Super Rugby debut. 

    Should he take the field, the Brisbane State High School graduate will be Queensland’s first debutant born this millennium and the youngest-ever Super Rugby debutant for the Reds at 18 years and 24 days old. 

    The Reds will also welcome back lock Lukhan Tui, who has been named on the bench for the first time since serving a three-match suspension. Tui takes the place of promising young lock Harry Hockings. 

    In the other changes to the bench, former Brumbies prop Ruan Smith replaces Sef Fa’agase, scrumhalf James Tuttle replaces Tate McDermott and flank Liam Wright is back in for the first time since Round 5. 

    Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s an exciting week. We’ve got a big challenge in front of us, heading down to Canberra to take on the Brumbies on their home turf. 

    “It’s great to see Samu (Kerevi) reach his 50th cap for Queensland. He’s a passionate young man who puts everything into the jersey. 

    “At the other end of the scale we have Jordan (Petaia) in line to make his debut. He may be young, but he has bags of talent and has shown plenty of promise at training and in our internal trial. It’s a good opportunity for him. 

    “We’re pleased to be able to welcome Scott (Higginbotham) back to the starting side and the captaincy. He’s been itching to get back into the Reds jersey and will want to build on his performance from two weeks ago. Lukhan (Tui) is in a similar position. Having not played since his suspension, he’s keen to make his mark. 

    “It’s been tough to select the side each week. The guys are pushing each other hard at training and unfortunately some people miss out. It’s difficult, but it’s good to see the competition and depth within the squad. It’s a squad effort each week to prepare well and perform on game day. 

    “There are some great individual milestones this weekend and the team knows the best way to recognise those is to put in a performance we can all be proud of.”

    Teams:

    Brumbies

    15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 11 Chance Peni, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio


    Substitutes: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 James Verity-Amm

    Reds

    15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Adam Korczyk, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper

    Substitutes: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Liam Wright, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Jordan Petaia

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