RICHARD FERGUSON updates keo.co.za followers of the latest Super Rugby news from Australia.
Fainga’a back for Reds
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie has made three changes to the backline for the Reds clash against the Rebels this weekend.
Anthony Fainga’a is back in midfield after his injury lay-off, while Nick Frisby starts at scrumhalf in place of Ben Lucas. Lucas is on the bench, leaving Nigel Genia out of the squad and having to wait to make his debut.
At fullback, Jono Lance is the third player in three matches to don the 15 jersey, replacing Aidan Toua, with mike Harris covering flyhalf/centre/fullback from the bench.
The pack remains unchanged, with the loosies Quirk, Gill and Schatz expected to run amok at the breakdowns. No announcement has been made regarding the captaincy, but it was expected that Anthony Fainga’a will take over from James Slipper once he returns.
Queensland Reds: Jono Lance, Dom Shipperley, Anthony Faingaa, Ben Tapuai, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Nick Frisby, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, Ed O’Donoghue, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes. Substitutes: James Hanson, Albert Anae, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Radike Samo, Ben Lucas, Mike Harris, Chris Feauai-Sautia.
Volavola forces his starting debut
Ben Volavola has impressed off the bench and has forced coach Michael Cheika into naming him as starting fullback.
Volavola replaces Israel Folau, who has to shift to the wing. Folau has had a mixed start to his Super Rugby career, but is being touted as a Wallaby already. There is also a return to the bench for Lachie Turner, with Tom Kingston missing out on selection altogether.
Captain Dave Dennis shifts to the back of the scrum to replace the injured Wycliff Palu, with Mitchell Chapman coming onto the side of the scrum. The bench is loaded with forwards, with Pat McCutcheon back after his year long injury lay-off.
Waratahs: Ben Volavola, Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Carter, Drew Mitchell, Bernard Foley, Brendan McKibbin, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Mitchell Chapman, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Substitutes: Luke Holmes, Paddy Ryan, Greg Peterson, Lopeti Timani, Pat McCutcheon, Matt Lucas, Lachie Turner.
Speight returns; Smith on the bench
As anticipated, George Smith will make his return to Super Rugby this weekend.
Smith has been named on the bench and will certainly come on during the match to run in tandem with Pocock, as coach Jake White experiments with two fetchers against the Waratahs.
Winger Henry Speight is the only change to the starting line-up, replacing Joe Tomane who will drop to the bench.
The Brumbies have enjoyed an early season bye and will be refreshed going into their third Australian derby match in four weeks.
Brumbies: 15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Clyde Rathbone, 10. Matt Toomua, 9. Nic White, 8. Ben Mowen, 7. David Pocock, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Sam Carter, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Dan Palmer, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Alexander. Substitutes: 16. Siliva Siliva,17. Scott Sio,18. Fotu Auelua,19. George Smith,20. Ian Prior,21. Robbie Coleman,22. Joe Tomane