The Queensland Reds have made five changes to their starting XV to take on the Highlanders in Friday night's double header clash at Suncorp Stadium.
The Wallaroos will take on Fiji in their first Test match of 2022 before kick-off in the Reds game, with electric wingers Jordan Petaia and Suliasi Vunivalu set to feature after recovering from minor hamstring injuries.
Seru Uru and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto also return to the starting team after making successful comebacks from injury last round, while Feao Fotuaika will make his fourth run-on appearance of the season at tighthead prop in place of the injured Taniela Tupou.
Josh Flook will shift to outside centre with Hunter Paisami ruled out with a minor shoulder injury suffered against the Chiefs last round.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “After being away for a couple of weeks in Melbourne, it’s good to be at home for consecutive weeks.
“The Highlanders are a quality team who will have confidence following their win over the Fijian Drua.
“The team took a step forward from the Hurricanes to the Chiefs game, but we just fell short. We’re looking forward to another tough encounter on Friday night,” said Thorn.
Petaia and Vunivalu combine with Jock Campbell in the back three, while Hamish Stewart and Josh Flook make for a solid centre pairing in the midfield.
Captain Tate McDermott and Lawson Creighton will steer the side in the halves for the third straight week as the Reds look to snap a two-game losing streak and continue their hunt for a home final.
In the forward pack, Harry Hoopert, Richie Asiata and Fotuaika line up in the frontrow, with Salakaia-Loto pairing the ever-improving Ryan Smith at lock.
Uru, Wilson and McReight make for a dynamic backrow trio, with Angus Scott-Young adding experience off the bench.
Albert Anae will play his first game for Queensland since 2014, with the 32-year-old brought into the Reds squad as injury cover after playing 26 Super Rugby games for Queensland between 2011 and 2014.
The match against the Highlanders also doubles as the Queensland Rugby Union’s Mental Health Round.
The QRU is proud to partner with the White Cloud Foundation, providing Tele-Mental Health service to players and members of the Queensland Rugby community suffering, or who are at risk of depression or anxiety.
Through the QRU’s In-Touch Mental Health Program, Queensland Rugby Union and our 107 affiliated clubs across the state are working to increase awareness of mental health and improve the capacity of our organisation to support improved mental health in our game and the community.
You can access the service today by simply calling 07 3155 3456. Tickets for Friday night’s clash are available via reds.rugby.
Queensland Reds v Highlanders, Suncorp Stadium, Friday 6 May, kick-off 7:45pm –
- Harry Hoopert - Brothers
- Richie Asiata - Easts
- Feao Fotuaika - Sunnybank
- Ryan Smith - Brothers
- Lukhan Salakaia-Loto - Souths
- Seru Uru - Wests
- Fraser McReight - Brothers
- Harry Wilson - Brothers
- Tate McDermott (c) - University of Queensland
- Lawson Creighton - Brothers
- Jordan Petaia - Wests
- Hamish Stewart - Brothers
- Josh Flook - Brothers
- Suliasi Vunivalu - Wests
- Jock Campbell - University of Queensland
- Matt Faessler - Brothers
- Dane Zander - Norths
- Albert Anae - Brothers
- Angus Blyth - Bond University
- Angus Scott-Young - University of Queensland
- Spencer Jeans - Bond University
- Filipo Daugunu - Wests
- Mac Grealy - University of Queensland