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It will be a blockbuster Round 1 Clash of Super Rugby AU tomorrow night. When the Queensland Reds host NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium. Right at the centrepiece of the Brisbane CBD.
Last year the Reds just pipped the opening round win 32-26. But the Tahs have won the other meeting at the Sydney Cricket Ground 45-12. One of these moments include a Jake Gordon hat-trick touchdown. While Will Harrison looks always spotless with the kicking in goal.
And just want to add a bit with the trial game a few weeks ago. Where the Tahs just closed out the Reds 45-33. Safe it say it will be a State of Origin like rivalry between Maroon v Sky Blue. It is not just the competitiveness of these athletes who are looking to shine a light. It is also the first time that any rugby fan can watch it on Free TV Live. Once every week during the Super Rugby AU competition. As well as the Trans-Tasman leg if is approved.
The Waratahs will have Tom Horton at hooker. Where he is supported by Angus Bell & Harry Johnson Hooker in the prop section. Sam Caird & Jack Whetton pairs up in the second row. So does Will Harris & Carlo Tizzano at flanker. Where Tizzano will replace Michael Hooper. And Jack Dempsey round the forwards unit at 8.
Jake Gordon will have Hooper’s armband at scrum-half. Followed by kicking machine Will Harrison at 10. James Ramm at left wing. Then you pair the two centres of Joey Walton & Izaia Perese. Alex Newsome on the right wing. Jack Maddocks at full back. In which sums up the Tahs XV for tomorrow night v Reds.
Their substitute bench consists of David Porecki at hooker. Te Tera Faulkner & Sio Tatola at prop. Jeremy Williams at the lock position. Hugh Sinclair at flanker. Jack Grant as the backup for Jake Gordon at scrum-half. Tane Edmed at fly-half. And Mark Nawaqanitawase on the wing.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa is out of the side at hooker. So Alex Mafi takes his place as the starting spot instead. Dane Zander & Feao Fotuaika supports Mafi as the props.
Seru Uru will make his Super Rugby debut as the second rower. Joining him is Angus Blyth. Before Angus Scott-Young comes in at 6. While Fraser McWright takes over Liam Wright at 7. Where Liam was unfortunate to suffer an injury during pre-season. And will not be back until at least Round 10. Harry Wilson who won a few Wallaby caps recently comes in at 8. As Wilson completes the Reds forward pack.
Then Reds connect with the backline department. Starting with Tate McDemott at scrum-half. Alongside new stand-in skipper James O’Connor. Despite unsuccessful attempts to join the Chiefs in Super Rugby Aotearoa. Filipo Daugunu & Jordan Petaia will look to unleash their pace at each flank. Supported by Hamish Stewart & Hunter Paisami centrally. Before Jock Campbell backs them up at No.15.
Richard Asiata begins the interchange at hooker. Harry Hoppert & Taniela Tupou as back up props. Ryan Smith at lock. Tuaina Taii Tualima can fill in at both lock & flanker. Moses Sorovi as back up to McDemott. Same goes to Bryce Hegarty as second choice behind O’Connor. And Illaisa Droasese can fill in anywhere at centre/wing/fullback.
It will be a tough and competitive game for sure. Waratahs would want to put their poor 2020 season behind. And look ahead of life after Michael Hooper. With a few young guns forming this nucleus. While still having a few experienced guys available to help this cohort. As some already created their own names last year. That would hopefully bridged this gap and be in the Top 3 fight every week.
And on the Reds they would want to go one better this year. Most of the players have been retained that helped guide them to the final. Which is important to continue their resurgence. Credit to Head Coach Brad Thorn who admires youth. But are unfortunate to deal with the Liam Wright injury recently. As the Reds will need Angus Scott-Young to step up in his absence. And help out Fraser McWright & Harry Wilson. Avoiding defeat v the Tahs would determine where they go after R10.