The St.George Queensland Reds have made two changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s clash against the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium.
Twin brothers, JP and Ruan Smith will both start in the frontrow this weekend, with fellow props Taniela Tupou on the bench and Feao Fotuaika ruled out after fracturing his thumb against the Brumbies.
Following his impressive performance last week, Tate McDermott has retained his starting spot at number nine alongside flyhalf Bryce Hegarty in an unchanged Reds backline.
Tupou is only the difference to the reserves, as Queensland look to make it three straight wins this season with victory on Saturday night.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “The Rebels will be a tough assignment as they have plenty of threats, but our main focus has been on us and growing our game.
“We love playing at home in front of our people and we hope there’s good a crowd on Saturday night.
“It’s disappointing losing Feao. He’s a big loss for us. As he’s done all year, he’ll continue to work hard to get back playing as soon as he can. We’ve got a great support team here with Cameron Lillicrap (coach and physiotherapist) and Brynley Abad (Strength and Conditioning head coach) who will ensure he returns even fitter and stronger.
“The Smith boys get the opportunity to start this week after their good performance in Tokyo, with Taniela moving to the bench. Our bench/finishers have been a real strength for us when they’ve come and have made an impact for us,” said Thorn.
Following the Reds upset win over the Rebels in the penultimate round of Super Rugby last year, Queensland are aiming to record back-to-back wins against Melbourne for the first time since 2013.
The Reds play the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday evening at 6:45pm AEST and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
Queensland is at home again next week against the Stormers on Friday April 5 at Suncorp Stadium. Tickets available via http://bit.ly/2019RedsTickets
St.George Queensland Reds v Rebels – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on March 30 at 6:45pm AEST
1. JP Smith – GPS
2. Alex Mafi – Bond University
3. Ruan Smith – GPS
4. Izack Rodda – Easts
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. Taniela Tupou – Brothers
19. Harry Hockings – University of Queensland
20. Fraser McReight – Brothers
21. Moses Sorovi – Wests
22. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths
23. Isaac Lucas – Sunnybank