The St.George Queensland Reds have made six changes to their starting XV for Saturday’s Super Rugby Double Header against the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium.
James O’Connor will resume his role at flyhalf for the Round 7 clash after recovering from a minor ankle injury.
Chris Feauai-Sautia shifts to outside centre to cover the loss of Hunter Paisami who has been ruled out with a knee injury.
Bryce Hegarty has been brought into the starting side and will fill the void on the right wing left by Feauai-Sautia’s positional switch.
Following standout performances in Queensland’s first three games of the season, Norths prop Dane Zander has earned his maiden Super Rugby start.
For the first time in their Super Rugby careers, Angus Blyth and Harry Hockings will start alongside each other in the secondrow.
Blyth’s promotion into the XV sees Lukhan Salakaia-Loto shift back to number six for the third time this year.
There are three changes to the reserves with Harry Hoopert recalled into Queensland’s matchday 23, while Angus Scott-Young and Isaac Lucas are set to come on as finishers this weekend at Suncorp Stadium.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s great to be back home in front of our loyal Queensland fans this week. They’ll enjoy two games of quality Rugby with the Crusaders and Sunwolves playing before us.
“The Bulls are always a tough opposition. They got their first win last week and will be full of confidence heading into this game.
“We took plenty of positives from our performance in Christchurch last week and we look forward to a tough contest against the Bulls,” said Thorn.
Meanwhile, Queensland pathway product Jack Straker has been brought in as an injury cover replacement with fellow frontrowers Feao Fotuaika (foot) and Dave Feao (scapula) both sidelined.
A Queensland Schoolboys representative in 2010, the 26-year-old tighthead prop moved to New Zealand five years ago and has spent the past three seasons (Canterbury & Tasman 2017 and Northland 2018, 2019) playing in the Mitre 10 Cup before returning to Brisbane and joining his new Reds team-mates this week.
Queensland play the Bulls in Brisbane at 6:15pm AEST as part of a Super Rugby Double Header at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday with the Sunwolves taking on the Crusaders at 3:35pm AEST. Both games will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
Following a bye next week, the Reds are at home again in Round 9 when they host the Brumbies on Friday 27 March at 6:15pm AEST. Tickets available via reds.rugby
St.George Queensland Reds v Bulls – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on 14 March at 6:15pm AEST
Dane Zander – Norths
Alex Mafi – Bond University
Taniela Tupou – Brothers
Angus Blyth – Bond University
Harry Hockings – University of Queensland
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths
Liam Wright © – Easts
Harry Wilson – Brothers
Scott Malolua – GPS
James O’Connor – Brothers
Henry Speight – Bond University
Hamish Stewart – Brothers
Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths
Bryce Hegarty – GPS
Jock Campbell – University of Queensland
Ed Craig – TBC
Harry Hoopert – Brothers
Jack Straker – GPS
Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
Fraser McReight – Brothers
Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
Isaac Lucas – Sunnybank
Filipo Daugunu – Wests