The Queensland Reds have made two changes to their starting XV ahead of their Round 2 Super Rugby Pacific clash against the New South Wales Waratahs at Leichhardt Oval this Friday night.
Co-captain Liam Wright has been ruled out with a shoulder injury which sees Fraser McReight move into the run-on team at openside flanker, while prop Feao Fotuaika will also start in the front row.
Wright’s absence means scrumhalf Tate McDermott will captain his state solo for the first time, with Spencer Jeans potentially making his Queensland and Super Rugby debut off the bench as the Reds look to retain the Bob Templeton Cup in Sydney.
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: "We're looking forward to flying down to Sydney this week.
"We were pleased with the win over the Rebels, but we’re a fair bit off where we need to be.
"The Waratahs will be a tough opponent. They're playing good rugby at the moment. They're in good form following a big win over the Drua and strong performances in their trial matches. We're expecting a tough contest down at Leichhardt Oval," said Thorn.
After a man of the match performance in his side’s Round 1 win over the Rebels, Harry Wilson will partner clubmate McReight and Angus Scott Young in the backrow, with Angus Blyth and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto again starting as locks.
Fotuaika, Alex Mafi and Taniela Tupou form an imposing frontrow trio, while Thorn has named an unchanged backline to take on the Waratahs.
McDermott and James O’Connor will steer the side around the park in the halves, with Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia and Jock Campbell providing strike and flair in the back three.
Hamish Stewart and Josh Flook combine in the midfield as Queensland looks to secure their third-straight win over their historical rivals.
Off the bench, Seru Uru returns to the side, with the versatile Lawson Creighton a chance to secure his second cap after debuting last weekend.
The match will be exclusively broadcast live on Stan Sport, with kick-off set for 6:45pm AEST.
Queensland Reds v New South Wales Waratahs, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, Friday 25 February, 2022, 6:45pm AEST:
- Feao Fotuaika – Sunnybank
- Alex Mafi – Bond University
- Taniela Tupou – Brothers
- Angus Blyth – Bond University
- Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths
- Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
- Fraser McReight – Brothers
- Harry Wilson – Brothers
- Tate McDermott (c) – University of Queensland
- James O’Connor – Brothers
- Filipo Daugunu – Wests
- Hamish Stewart – Brothers
- Josh Flook – Brothers
- Jordan Petaia – Wests
- Jock Campbell – University of Queensland
- Josh Nasser – University of Queensland
- Harry Hoopert – Brothers
- Zane Nonggorr – Bond University
- Ryan Smith – Brothers
- Seru Uru – Wests
- Spencer Jeans* – Bond University
- Lawson Creighton – Brothers
- Mac Grealy – University of Queensland
*denotes potential Queensland and Super Rugby debut