Reds announce team for Drua clash in Suva

Thu, Jun 1, 2023, 1:58 AM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit

The Queensland Reds have confirmed their side to face the Fijian Drua in Round 15 of Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific in Suva this Saturday.

Head coach Brad Thorn has made five changes to his starting XV in what is a do-or-die clash against the Drua, with both teams fighting for a finals berth at HFC Bank Stadium.

Ryan Smith returns to the starting side after recovering from a calf injury, while Seru Uru, who was ruled out with illness last round, replaces injured co-captain Liam Wright.

James O’Connor starts at flyhalf with Tom Lynagh shifting to the bench, as Hunter Paisami runs on at inside centre after making his comeback from a knee injury against the Highlanders last Friday night.

Filipo Daugunu also returns to play his first Super Rugby match in his home country.

Thorn said: “It’s finals come early this Saturday afternoon in Fiji.

“Both teams are fighting for their season, it’s going to be a tough challenge and a great spectacle.

“The Drua can hurt you from anywhere on the field. They’re an exciting team and will be well supported by their fans in Suva.”

After clearing return to play protocols from concussion, Tate McDermott will captain the side at scrumhalf, partnering O’Connor in an experienced halves combination.

Paisami’s successful return from a knee injury sees him start at inside-centre alongside Josh Flook in the centres, with Jock Campbell running on at fullback.

Fijian duo Daugunu and Suliasi Vunivalu, who yesterday re-signed with the Reds through 2025, will both feature in their birth country on the wings.

Peni Ravai, Matt Faessler and Zane Nonggorr make for an unchanged backrow, while Smith comes into the side at lock in place of the injured Connor Vest.

Angus Blyth starts in the second row as Queensland look to keep their finals hopes alive.

After missing last week’s match with illness, Uru starts alongside Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson in the backrow.

Queensland take on the Drua in Suva at 2:35pm AEST on Saturday. Watch live via Stan Sport.

Fijian Drua v Queensland Reds, HFC Bank Stadium, Suva, Saturday 3 June, 2:35pm AEST. Watch live on Stan Sport.

  1. Peni Ravai – Easts – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji
  2. Matt Faessler – Brothers – Toowoomba Grammar School – USQ Saints
  3. Zane Nonggorr – Bond University – The Southport School – Gold Coast Eagles
  4. Angus Blyth – Bond University – The Southport School – Casuarina Beach Rugby Club
  5. Ryan Smith – Brothers – St Patrick’s College Shorncliffe – Caboolture Snakes
  6. Seru Uru – Wests – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji – Namoli Rugby Club, Fiji
  7. Fraser McReight – Brothers – Brisbane Grammar School – Albany Creek Brumbies
  8. Harry Wilson – Brothers – St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace – Gunnedah Red Devils
  9. Tate McDermott (c) – University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast Grammar School – Flinders Rugby Club
  10. James O’Connor – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Brothers
  11. Filipo Daugunu – Wests – Dogotuki District School, Fjii
  12. Hunter Paisami – Wests – Mangere College, Auckland
  13. Josh Flook – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Brothers
  14. Suliasi Vunivalu – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, Auckland
  15. Jock Campbell – University of Queensland – The Southport School – Inverell Highlanders
  16. Richie Asiata – Easts – Anglican Church Grammar School
  17. Dane Zander – University of Queensland – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Albany Creek Brumbies
  18. Sef Fa’agase – Sunnybank – Shailer Park State High School – Beaudesert Warriors
  19. Lopeti Faifua – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, Auckland
  20. Jake Upfield – Bond University – The Southport School
  21. Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland – Ipswich Grammar School – Souths
  22. Tom Lynagh – University of Queensland – Epsom College – Richmond Rugby Club
  23. Lawson Creighton – Brothers – Padua College