Speight to make Reds bow against Brumbies
Cape Town - Wallabies wing Henry Speight is set to make his Super Rugby debut for the Reds in their season opener against his former side, the Brumbies, in Canberra on Friday.
Kick-off is at 10:15 (SA time).
Up to five players could make their first starts for the Reds with young backrow Harry Wilson also named in the starting line-up at No 8.
Following standout performances in Queensland Premier Rugby that led to selection with Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) last year, Queensland pathway trio Dane Zander, Seru Uru and Hunter Paisami could potentially also make their Reds debuts after being named on the bench.
The Reds will be bolstered up-front with the return of props JP Smith and Feao Fotuaika from injury, while Izack Rodda will also make his comeback following routine off-season ankle surgery post the Rugby World Cup.
The Reds' backline remains unchanged from last week's pre-season win over the Waratahs in Dalby, with Isaac Lucas earning his second Super Rugby start in the No 10 jersey and James O'Connor partnering Jordan Petaia in an exciting centre-pairing combination.
Liam Wright will lead the team in his first Reds-capped match as captain and will have the support of Rodda, Speight and Bryce Hegarty as part of the leadership group this season.
"We're excited for the season to start. We have the Brumbies first-up and we look forward to a tough contest," Reds coach Brad Thorn said.
"Dalby and Gladstone had us for two trial games which were important hit-outs leading into the season.
"Five guys could make their Queensland debuts on Friday night which is an awesome thing to recognise. They've worked hard during the pre-season and deserve their selection."
15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Murray Douglas, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 James Slipper, 19 Caderyn Neville, 20 Will Miller, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Bayley Kuenzle, 23 Andy Muirhead
15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 James O’Connor, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Isaac Lucas, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (captain), 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Substitutes: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Feao Fotuaika, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Seru Uru, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Hunter Paisami
- TeamTalk Media