St.George Queensland Reds head coach Richard Graham has made one change to his starting side to take on the NSW Waratahs in Sydney this weekend, in the 300th encounter between the two states.
Chris Kuridrani returns to the match-day 23 for his first game of Super Rugby in three weeks, taking the place of winger Chris Feauai-Sautia, who has been ruled out with concussion.
Graham has named an extended 10-man bench for Saturday’s match, with two players to be omitted prior to kick-off.
“There hasn’t been a lot of change. Due to injuries within the squad, we made enough changes in the first 16 rounds to last a number of seasons,” Graham said.
“I wanted to give the players an opportunity to develop combinations and confidence as we look to finish the season with a win in Sydney.
“I am yet to finalise the bench due to a few bumps and bruises. I went with a six-two split last week given the threat the Chiefs provide in the forward pack. I might look to run that way again but I’ll see how we are after our session Saturday morning.
“Hendrik (Tui) was our 18th debutant last weekend. It has been a frustrating season for him but anyone who watched the game closely would have seen the reasons why we brought him to the Reds. He has also been a fantastic contributor off the field around Ballymore and at his local club Norths.”
Graham said his side was looking forward to the clash with New South Wales, a fixture both sides will be highly motivated for.
“It is always a game full of expectation,” he said.
“I spoke to the players earlier in the week about last impressions. It will be the last opportunity in 2015 they have to leave strong memories with their teammates, the rest of the competition and more importantly with the people who support them each week. We have a responsibility to make sure our performance is physical, is accurate and is 80 minutes.”
This Saturday’s match will be the 300th between Queensland and New South Wales in Rugby Union, after the sides first met in 1882. The sides have met 23 times in Super Rugby since 1996, with 13 wins to the Reds and one draw.
The Reds and Waratahs play at Allianz Stadium this Saturday, 13 June, at 7:40pm.
The Reds will wear a unique ‘Flash’ superhero jersey this weekend as part of BLK’s Superhero Round. This is the first time a professional sports team in Australia has worn the ‘Flash’ logo on its jersey. Replica jerseys are available for purchase here.
While Reds prop Ben Daley will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury, he continues to support various charities through his ‘Be Great, Do Good’ campaign. This week he is supporting SIDS and Kids – dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood. ‘Be Great, Do Good’ is an initiative by Daley, in which he will support a different charity every week through a unique headgear to raise awareness and funds for their cause. Click here for more information.
St.George Queensland Reds side to play Waratahs in Sydney
1. James Slipper (C)
2. James Hanson
3. Greg Holmes
4. Rob Simmons (VC)
5. James Horwill
6. Adam Thomson
7. Liam Gill
8. Jake Schatz
9. Will Genia
10. Quade Cooper
11. Lachie Turner
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Karmichael Hunt
14. Chris Kuridrani
15. James O’Connor
Extended bench (two players to be omitted)