Trio of changes as Reds refresh for Hurricanes clash

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The return of Reds captain Scott Higginbotham headlines a refreshed Queensland starting XV which will line up against the Hurricanes.

Higginbotham will make just his third start of the year having battled injury and suspension in what the Reds skipper admits has been a frustrating season, shifting Angus Scott-Young to blindside flanker.

Adam Korczyk subsequently drops out of the 23 and there are two other personnel changes to the starting XV, with JP Smith and Duncan Paia'aua returning.

Smith will start at loosehead prop in place of James Slipper, who was not considered for selection due to "welfare reasons".

Paia'aua resumes his role at inside centre in place of Chris Feauai-Sautia, who is yet to overcome a concussion suffered in the horror loss to the Sunwolves.Izaia Perese returns to the Reds 23. Photo: Getty ImagesThere are some familiar faces returning to the bench, too, with Andrew Ready and Izaia Perese showing enough in their club rugby with Easts to earn a recall.

One sore point for Reds fans will be the starting halfback gig, with Ben Lucas retaining his spot ahead of the promising Moses Sorovi.

"It’s pleasing to be able to welcome Scott (Higginbotham) back into the side," Thorn said.

"He’s had a tough run this year, not playing a lot of rugby, but he made his way back from injury with a game for Wests last weekend and he’ll add a lot of experience and leadership to the side.

"It’s a shame to lose Chris (Feauai-Sautia) to injury, but it presents an opportunity for Duncan (Paia’aua).

"He has been working hard on his game. We’re excited to see what he brings to the starting side.

"It also allows us to bring Izaia (Perese) back onto the bench. He was disappointed not to be involved last week, so we expect a big impact from him.

"We’re also welcoming the twins and Andrew (Ready) back into the side.

"Andrew (Ready) has been chipping away and playing club rugby, so he’s excited for another crack. The twins are also keen to get back into the side after missing out last weekend."

TEAM

Reds team to face the Hurricanes

1. JP Smith – GPS

2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank

3. Taniela Tupou – Brothers

4. Izack Rodda – Easts

5. Kane Douglas – Norths

6. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland

7. George Smith – Brothers

8. Scott Higginbotham (C) - Wests

9. Ben Lucas - Sunnybank

10. Jono Lance – University of Queensland

11. Jordan Petaia – Wests

12. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths

13. Samu Kerevi – Souths

14. Filipo Daugunu – Wests

15. Hamish Stewart – Bond University

Reserves

16. Andrew Ready – Easts

17. Sef Fa’agase – University of Queensland

18. Ruan Smith – GPS

19. Harry Hockings – University of Queensland

20. Liam Wright – Easts

21. Moses Sorovi – Wests

22. Izaia Perese – Easts

23. Aidan Toua – Easts

The Reds face the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday night, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.