Bond University Queensland Country head coach Steve Meehan has made three changes to his starting line-up for the team’s Round 5 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship match against the Greater Sydney Rams at Ballymore Stadium this Thursday, 18 September.
The front row features two changes from last week, with Haydn Hirsimaki (Sunnybank) and Ryan Freney (GPS) returning to loosehead prop and hooker in the absence of Fred Burke (injury) and Saia Fainga’a (Wallabies).
In the backs, Brothers winger Giles Beveridge will return to the starting line-up for his second start in the Country jersey, after winger Todd Winkley was ruled out due to injury.
Meehan believes the team will pose a serious threat to the Rams this Thursday night.
“Despite the loss of two players to injury and Saia to the Wallabies, we will still field a strong, spirited and capable side this Thursday night,” Meehan said.
“Hirsimaki has performed consistently well at loosehead and Freney was one of our best performers against Canberra in Round 3. I’m confident that our front row, with the support of the back five, will provide good quality ball from the scrum and continue to pressure the opposition.
“Giles was Queensland Premier Rugby’s leading try scorer in 2014 and we’ve been working hard as a team to provide him with opportunities. This will be his second start and, like Tom Pincus last Saturday, I expect he will be better off having experienced this competition before. He’ll slot in for Winkley on the wing nicely.
“Having produced such a spirited fight back we were hugely disappointed by the result last Saturday night. The second half demonstrated the style of play we are searching for and by playing that way for the entire match I believe we can win.”
Seventeen-year-old centre Campbell Magnay has retained his spot in the starting lineup at outside centre and will again partner Queensland Country captain Anthony Fainga’a in the midfield.
The reserves bench has seen a number of changes this week. Bond University prop Will Slipper, the younger brother of Reds and Wallabies prop James Slipper, has been named on the bench after being called into the squad following the injury to Fred Burke. He will be joined by Tonga Ma’afu and Campbell Wakely as cover for the front row.
GPS backrower Mitch King returns to the bench alongside fellow loose forward Jack de Guingand, who scored his first try for Queensland Country last Saturday at Cbus Super Stadium.
Centres Clynton Knox and Rota Setu return to the squad as cover for the backline, as well as 18-year-old James Tuttle as cover for the halves.
Queensland Country take on the Greater Sydney Rams this Thursday, 18 September, at 7:30pm at Ballymore Stadium.
Tickets are available at www.redsrugby.com.au/NRC.
The match will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports 2.
Queensland Country v Greater Sydney Rams, Ballymore Stadium, Kick off 7:30pm
Haydn Hirsimaki – Sunnybank
Ryan Freney – GPS
Greg Holmes – Reds/Sunnybank (VC)
Rubin Fuimaono – Bond University
Dan Gorman – GPS
James Turner – Souths
Beau Robinson – Reds/Souths
Ben Adams – Sunnybank
Sam Grasso – GPS
Matt Brandon – Easts
Giles Beveridge – Brothers
Anthony Fainga’a – Reds/GPS (C)
Campbell Magnay – GPS
Tom Pincus – University of Queensland
Jamie-Jerry Taulagi – University of Queensland
Tonga Ma’afu – Norths
Campbell Wakely – University of Queensland
Will Slipper – Bond University
Mitch King – GPS
Jack de Guingand – University of Queensland
James Tuttle – GPS
Clynton Knox – Brothers
Rota Setu – University of Queensland
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