Reds confirm side for Good Friday clash in Melbourne

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The Queensland Reds have been bolstered by the return of Suliasi Vunivalu and Angus Scott-Young ahead of this Friday’s Round 9 Super Rugby Pacific clash against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park.

Flying winger Vunivalu will make his first appearance of 2022 after injuring his hamstring in the pre-season, while Scott-Young returns from a knee injury following a six-week stint on the sidelines.

Queensland Premier Rugby products Richie Asiata (hooker), Zane Nonggorr (tighthead prop) and Connor Vest (blindside flanker) will make their Queensland and Super Rugby starting debuts, with 20-year-old lock Lopeti Faifua potentially making his debut off the bench.

Feao Fotuaika also returns to the run-on team, with head coach Brad Thorn making five changes to the XV who defeated the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium a fortnight ago.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “After the bye we’re looking forward to travelling down to Melbourne this week.

“The Rebels are in good form. They’re an improved side and will be a tough opposition.

“It’s good to have a couple of our guys making their return this week. Suliasi Vunivalu will play his first game this year after a tough time on the sideline with Angus Scott-Young also back from injury.

“Lopeti Faifua could potentially make his Queensland debut this week. His selection is great recognition after months of hard work in our program,” said Thorn.

Fotuaika, Asiata and Nonggorr form a new-look frontrow combination, with Ryan Smith and Angus Blyth providing continuity as locks.

Connor Vest partners Brothers duo Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson in the loose forwards, while Tate McDermott will captain the side at scrumhalf with James O’Connor outside him in the number-10 jersey.

Hunter Paisami and Hamish Stewart will reprise their combination in the centres, with Jordan Petaia, Filipo Daugunu and Vunivalu making for an electric back-three combination as Queensland look to continue their six-game unbeaten streak against the Rebels,

Faifua and Scott-Young are joined on the bench by Taniela Tupou, Josh Flook, Harry Hoopert and Matt Faessler.

The match will be livestreamed exclusively via Stan Sport, with kick-off slated for 7:45pm.

Melbourne Rebels v Queensland Reds, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7:45pm, Friday 15 April:

Feao Fotuaika – Sunnybank
Richie Asiata* – Easts
Zane Nonggorr* – Bond University
Ryan Smith – Brothers
Angus Blyth – Bond University
Connor Vest* - University of Queensland
Fraser McReight – Brothers
Harry Wilson – Brothers
Tate McDermott (c) – University of Queensland
James O’Connor – Brothers
Filipo Daugunu – Wests
Hamish Stewart – Brothers
Hunter Paisami – Wests
Suliasi Vunivalu – Wests
Jordan Petaia – Wests
Matt Faessler – Brothers
Harry Hoopert – Brothers
Taniela Tupou – Brothers
Lopeti Faifua** – Wests
Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland
Josh Flook – Brothers
Lawson Creighton – Brothers 

*denotes Queensland and Super Rugby starting debut
**denotes potential Queensland and Super Rugby starting debut

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