James O’Connor to lead Reds into Super Rugby final

Liam Wright has been benched and the captaincy returned to James O’Connor for the Queensland Reds Super Rugby AU final against the Brumbies. Queensland Reds captain Liam Wright has been benched for Saturday’s Super Rugby AU final with coach Brad Thorn reinstating James O’Connor as skipper to face the Brumbies. An ankle injury on the […]

James O’Connor to lead Reds into Super Rugby final

Liam Wright has been benched and the captaincy returned to James O’Connor for the Queensland Reds Super Rugby AU final against the Brumbies.

Queensland Reds captain Liam Wright has been benched for Saturday’s Super Rugby AU final with coach Brad Thorn reinstating James O’Connor as skipper to face the Brumbies.

An ankle injury on the eve of the season meant Wright played once of the bench before his only start came in their only loss to the Western Force a fortnight ago.

Before that O’Connor had impressed as captain and five-eighth in a seven-game unbeaten run to earn a home final at Suncorp Stadium, where upwards of 40,000 fans are expected.

Angus Scott-Young replaces Wright in the backrow with Ryan Smith at lock and Brandon Paenga-Amosa pipping rival hooker Alex Mafi for a starting berth.

Rookie centre Josh Flook has been retained alongside Hamish Stewart in the Reds’ midfield with Hunter Paisami injured, while winger Suliasi Vunivalu (hamstring) was originally due to return in the last round but was not selected in Thorn’s grand final side.

The club says Vunivalu will be fit for the trans-Tasman tournament.

Wallabies winger Filipo Daugunu still couldn’t earn a starting berth though, stuck behind Jock Campbell and Jordan Petaia, with Bryce Hegarty at fullback.

The Brumbies have their own injury headaches with former Reds captain and veteran Wallabies forward James Slipper and dangerous flanker Pete Samu both out following injuries in their qualifying final defeat of the Western Force.

“I’m gutted for him,” Brumbies prop Scott Sio said of Slipper. 

“He would have loved to have obviously played there in front of family and friends in a grand final up there at Suncorp … so we’ve got to do the job for him and the guys who are unfortunately missing out this week and make sure we will bring back some silverware for them.”

Test hooker Folau Fainga’a, who also came from the field early against the Force, has been dropped to the bench with Lachlan Lonergan named to start alongside Sio.

A late inclusion in the Brumbies squad as an injury replacement, Henry Stowers is in line to make his debut for the club on the biggest stage.

“I was amazed Henry wasn’t signed by anyone across the globe, I thought he was outstanding last year for the Force and he’s worked hard to get himself in Super Rugby shape over the last few weeks and he’ll be good for us,” Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.

Reds
Bryce Hegarty, Jordan Petaia, Josh Flook, Hamish Stewart, Jock Campbell, James O’Connor (c), Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Ryan Smith, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Feao Fotuaika.
Reserves: Alex Mafi, Dane Zander, Zane Nonggorr, Seru Uru, Liam Wright, Kalani Thomas, Isaac Henry, Filipo Daugunu.

Brumbies 
Tom Banks, Andy Muirhead, Len Ikitau, Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Rory Scott, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Lachlan Lonergan, Scott Sio.
Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, Henry Stowers, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Mack Hansen.

Source : The Roar More   

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Super Rugby AU final teams: Reds change captain, Brumbies hit hard by injuries

The Brumbies and Reds have both named their line-ups for this weekend’s Super Rugby AU final. The Canberrans have paid a heavy injury price for making it to the final, with forwards Pete Samu and James Slipper both ruled out of the decider for the Brumbies due to injuries sustained last week against the Force. […]

Super Rugby AU final teams: Reds change captain, Brumbies hit hard by injuries

The Brumbies and Reds have both named their line-ups for this weekend’s Super Rugby AU final.

The Canberrans have paid a heavy injury price for making it to the final, with forwards Pete Samu and James Slipper both ruled out of the decider for the Brumbies due to injuries sustained last week against the Force.

Both Slipper and Samu, who scored a double when the Reds and Brumbies met for the first time this season, have been sidelined with knee issues.

Scott Sio is a straight replacement for Slipper in the front row, while Samu’s absence has sparked a back-row reshuffle. Rob Valetini moves to number eight and Nick Frost, who has played most of his rugby for the Brumbies in the second row, starts at blindside flanker. Harry Lloyd and Henry Stowers have been added to the reserves.

Folau Fainga’a was also under an injury cloud for the Ponies but has been given the green light for Saturday night, albeit limited to a spot on the bench. Lachlan Lonergan starts at hooker.

The big news for the Reds centres around club captain Liam Wright, who has been named on the bench for the decider. Wright started for the first time this season in the Round 10 loss to the Force, but his captaincy drew sharp criticism after he decided against kicking for goal from straight in front late on while trailing by three. James O’Connor, who captained the Reds in their seven other matches (all of them wins), has been named skipper for the final.

Much like the Brumbies, the Reds aren’t exactly a picture of perfect healthz, losing influential centre Hunter Paisami to a facial fracture. The hosts announced last week that Paisami would miss up to a month of rugby, and they are also still without Suliasi Vunivalu, who picked up a hamstring strain in late March.

However, they have received a boost in the form of Jock Campbell, who returns to the side on the wing, pushing Filipo Daugunu to the bench.

Josh Flook comes into the starting midfield for Paisami, and not for the first time this year. The youngster was a late inclusion in the XV after Paisami was a gameday withdrawal the last time these sides met, and ended up scoring a critical late try as the Reds claimed an excellent win.

The other changes for Queensland are amongst the reserves: prop Dane Zander replaces Richie Asiata, and young playmaker Isaac Henry could make his Super Rugby debut from the pine in the final. Ilaisa Droasese has been left out.

Super Rugby AU final teams

Queensland Reds vs ACT Brumbies

Saturday, 7:45pm (AEST), Suncorp Stadium
Reds
(1-15): Feao Fotuaika, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Ryan Smith, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor (c), Jock Campbell, Hamish Stewart, Josh Flook, Jordan Petaia, Bryce Hegarty

Reserves: Alex Mafi, Dane Zander, Zane Nonggorr, Seru Uru, Liam Wright, Kalani Thomas, Isaac Henry, Filipo Daugunu

In: Jock Campbell, Dane Zander, Isaac Henry

Out: Hunter Paisami, Richie Asiata, Ilaisa Droasese

Brumbies
(1-15): Scott Sio, Lachlan Lonergan, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Darcy Swain, Cadeyrn Neville, Nick Frost, Rory Scott, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Tom Wright, Irae Simone, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead, Tom Banks

Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, Henry Stowers, Luke Reimer, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Mack Hansen

In: Henry Stowers, Harry Lloyd

Out: Pete Samu, James Slipper

Source : The Roar More   

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