The St.George Queensland Reds have made five changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s showdown against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.
In accordance with Rugby Australia’s workload management policy this year, Wallabies Spring tourists Taniela Tupou and Izack Rodda have been rested for this weekend.
The two forced changes see Ruan Smith partner his twin brother JP in the frontrow and Angus Scott-Young off the bench and into the backrow, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto shifting to lock.
Alex Mafi will make his first run-on start at hooker for 2019, as Brandon Paenga-Amosa drops to the bench.
Isaac Lucas will wear the number 10 jersey, while Hamish Stewart is back in the starting side at fullback.
In addition to Paenga-Amosa, there’s a further four changes to the Reds interchange.
Prop Feao Fotuaika has been recalled this weekend, with lock Angus Blyth, flyhalf Teti Tela and outside back Filipo Daugunu all included in the Reds 23 for the first time this season.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “Our performance was disappointing last week in Sydney. We can’t afford another slow start. The Sunwolves are a side who have improved greatly in the past two years.
“This week is a pre-determined rest match by Rugby Australia for those two players. We’ve got good depth with Ruan and Angus (Scott-Young) able to slot straight in there, as well as having Lukhan’s versatility across the second and backrow.
“We’ve decided to rest Bryce this weekend to let him recover from a niggling rib injury. Isaac has played some quality Rugby in his three appearances this season. He’s played at 10 for most of his junior footy, so this is nothing new for him.
“Feao returns this week on the bench. It’s great to have Blythy, Teti and Filipo back in the side. They’ve been working hard at training and deserve their spot this week,” said Thorn.
The Reds play the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon at 2:15pm AEST and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
Queensland’s next game is at Suncorp Stadium against the Brumbies on Sunday March 24 at 2:50pm AEST. Tickets available via http://bit.ly/2019RedsTickets
St.George Queensland Reds v Sunwolves – Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo on March 16 at 2:15pm AEST
1. JP Smith – GPS
2. Alex Mafi – Bond University
3. Ruan Smith – GPS
4. Harry Hockings – University of Queensland
5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths
6. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
7. Liam Wright – Easts
8. Scott Higginbotham – Wests
9. Moses Sorovi – Wests
10. Isaac Lucas – Sunnybank
11. Sefa Naivalu – TBC
12. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths
13. Samu Kerevi (c) – Souths
14. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths
15. Hamish Stewart – Bond University
16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank
17. Harry Hoopert – Brothers
18. Feao Fotuaika – Souths
19. Angus Blyth – Bond University
20. Caleb Timu – Souths
21. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
22. Teti Tela – Souths
23. Filipo Daugunu – Wests