Stiles backs young guns for Blues clash

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Nick Stiles promised changes after the Reds' finals hopes were quelled against the Force and he has delivered on that promise.

With Stephen Moore resting in Brisbane, Andrew Ready headlines four changes made to the starting XV.

The hooker has been plying his trade in club rugby for the majority of the year after being dropped in favour of Alex Mafi but Stiles has backed him to start against the Blues.

"This gives him (Ready) an opportunity to show us the football that he can play," Stiles said.

"To see his work rate around the field and to see how hard he works defensively is going to be a big thing for him."Taniela Tupou gets the nod at tighthead. Photo: Getty ImagesTaniela Tupou celebrates turning 21 with a start at tighthead prop in place of Sam Talakai, who will come off the bench.

"He (Tupou) started the game against the Hurricanes and it was probably his best performance of the year," Stiles said.

"I think he's been developing nicely along the way in what is a very tough position.

"We feel that he has really grown and deserves an opportunity to start."

Many at Ballymore believe Lukhan Tui and Izack Rodda will be the heart of the forward pack in the near future and they will start together.

Izack Rodda is back in the starting XV. Photo: QRU MediaRob Simmons has had the disappointment of missing the Wallabies squad compounded by missing the Queensland 23 altogether, with Kane Douglas picked on the bench.

"Two very young locks but two very exciting prospects," Stiles said of the pair.

"Both play a very physical game, both are very abrasive with what they do and I just feel the attitude Izack has shown is something we want to seek through the rest of the side."

The fourth and final change to the starting XV comes at halfback.

Nick Frisby has been dropped for the second time this year, with James Tuttle set to take the reigns.

Caleb Timu has also been named on the bench for a potential Super Rugby debut.

The Reds take on the Blues in Apia on Friday evening, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.


Reds team to face Blues

1. Sef Fa’agase

2. Andrew Ready

3. Taniela Tupou

4. Izack Rodda

5. Lukhan Tui

6. Hendrik Tui

7. George Smith

8. Scott Higginbotham

9. James Tuttle

10. Quade Cooper

11. Eto Nabuli

12. Duncan Paia’aua

13. Samu Kerevi (C)

14. Chris Kuridrani

15. Karmichael Hunt


16. Alex Mafi

17. Kirwan Sanday

18. Sam Talakai

19. Kane Douglas

20. Adam Korczyk

21. Caleb Timu

22. Nick Frisby

23. Jake McIntyre