Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has today highlighted the importance and strength of the Queensland pathway with three National Rugby Championship (NRC) products prop Dave Feao, lock Tuaina Taii Tualima and centre Hunter Paisami all signing with the St.George Queensland Reds.
The trio have put pen to paper through 2020 and will form part of the Reds wider training squad for this upcoming Super Rugby season.
All three players represented Brisbane City in the NRC this year, as the Queensland side secured its maiden finals appearance since 2015.
They’re also prime examples of the talent that exists within Queensland Premier Rugby, with each of them representing their respective clubs throughout the 2019 Hospital Challenge Cup season.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s great to have Dave Feao, Tuaina Taii Tualima and Hunter Paisami join our group.
“Off the back of some good club Rugby, they performed well for Brisbane City in the NRC this year.
“90 percent of our squad has come through the Queensland pathway and nearly half of them played NRC before making their Queensland debuts.
“We welcome Dave, Tuaina and Hunter to Queensland and look forward to having them in our program this season,” said Thorn.
After winning the Hospital Challenge Cup with Souths in 2015, Feao played in France for La Rochelle and Narbonne, before earning 12 caps for traditional English powerhouse club Leicester Tigers. He also earned three Test caps for Tonga in 2018.
The prop made his return to Brisbane early this year, where he proved to be one of Sunnybank’s standout performers, before making his Brisbane City comeback, playing six games and scoring a memorable try against Sydney at Bond University in Round 2.
He originally featured in City’s NRC title campaign back in 2014 before going on to represent the NSW Country Eagles the following year.
A versatile lock or backrow option, Tualima played his fourth season of NRC with two appearances in 2019 after first making his Brisbane City debut against the Rising in 2016.
Originally born in Auckland, Tualima attended Brisbane State High School and came through the Queensland pathway after representing both his state and country at Schoolboys level. He was a part of the Australian Schoolboys side in 2014 that toured New Zealand alongside current Reds lock Izack Rodda.
A member of the Melbourne Rebels squad, Paisami moved to Brisbane at the beginning of the 2019 season and it soon paid dividends.
Following strong performances for Wests in Queensland Premier Rugby, Paisami was selected in the Brisbane City squad and went on to play seven games and score a try in his City debut against the Fijian Drua in Round 1.
The destructive centre previously played for the Melbourne Rising – earning seven caps during the 2017 NRC season.
The development of elite talent through the Queensland pathway is a clear strategy for the QRU and is why Queensland Rugby has placed importance on the NRC since its inception in 2014. Fifteen players in the current 34-man Queensland squad – Feao Fotuaika, Alex Mafi, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Harry Hockings, Izack Rodda, Angus Blyth, Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Moses Sorovi, Scott Malolua, Filipo Daugunu and Jock Campbell, first played in the NRC before going on to represent the Reds at Super Rugby level. An additional 10 players – Sean Farrell, Josh Nasser, Michael Wood, Tom Kibble, Harry Wilson, Seru Uru and Carter Gordon, plus Paisami, Feao and Tualima all have the opportunity to join this illustrious group next season having all previously played for either Brisbane City or Bond University Queensland Country.