The St.George Queensland Reds have made five changes to their starting XV for Sunday afternoon’s home clash against the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium.
After Taniela Tupou and Izack Rodda were rested last round, the Wallabies duo make their return this weekend.
Prop Feao Fotuaika will partner Tupou in the starting frontrow following his standout performance off the bench in Tokyo.
Tate McDermott earns his first start at scrumhalf this year, while Bryce Hegarty has overcome a rib injury and reclaims the number 10 jersey.
After coming on in the 71st minute and making an immediate impact against the Sunwolves, Filipo Daugunu will start on the wing, seeing Chris Feauai-Sautia shift to outside centre and skipper Samu Kerevi back at 12.
There are six changes to the reserves, with Ruan Smith, Moses Sorovi, Duncan Paia’aua and Isaac Lucas all on the bench this week, alongside the returning Izack Rodda.
After being named in the Reds 23 against the Highlanders in Round 2, backrower Fraser McReight has been recalled and could potentially make his Queensland and Super Rugby debut on Sunday.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “Our guys showed great belief to fight back and get the win last week, but it’s important we keep the momentum going. After a tough opening draw, we’ve now got three-straight home games and must make the most of it.
“Last week was a pre-determined rest week for Taniela and Izack. They both bring good experience and it’s great to have them back.
“Taniela joins Feao in the front row. Feao’s a hard-hitter and is very versatile, switching back to loosehead prop to accommodate Nela’s return.
“We’ve kept the same second and backrow from last week and rewarded those guys there with another start. It’s good to have someone of Izack’s quality who can come on and will do his job for us.
“Tate has been really good in the past four matches off the bench. He showed that last week when he pounced on that ball from Hocko’s charge down to score. He’s been working hard at training and deserves his spot in the starting side.
“Filipo also gets his opportunity to start. He showed great qualities when he came on in the final nine minutes last week. His line-break off the restart got us downfield and we ended up getting the penalty which allowed Hamish to kick that goal.
“We decided to rest Bryce for the Japan trip due to a rib injury. He’s been training hard this week and has recovered well. With Bryce back at 10, Isaac moves to the bench. It was a great experience for him starting at flyhalf against the Sunwolves. He took plenty of learnings from that game and continues to grow as a footballer,” said Thorn.
The Reds play the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon at 3:05pm AEST and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
Queensland plays back-to-back home games across the next two weeks against the Rebels on March 30 and Stormers on April 5. Tickets available via http://bit.ly/2019RedsTickets
St.George Queensland Reds v Brumbies – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on March 24 at 3:05pm AEST
1. Feao Fotuaika – Souths
2. Alex Mafi – Bond University
3. Taniela Tupou – Brothers
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. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
10. Bryce Hegarty – GPS
11. Sefa Naivalu – TBC
12. Samu Kerevi (c) – Souths
13. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths
14. Filipo Daugunu – Wests
15. Hamish Stewart – Bond University
16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank
17. Harry Hoopert – Brothers
18. Ruan Smith – GPS
19. Izack Rodda – Easts
20. Fraser McReight – Brothers*
21. Moses Sorovi – Wests
22. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths
23. Isaac Lucas – Sunnybank
*Denotes potential Queensland and Super Rugby debut