TEAM NEWS: Kerevi rested, Rodda to captain Reds against Chiefs

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

Wallabies forward Izack Rodda will captain the Reds against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday, with Samu Kerevi to finally be rested.

Kerevi will sit out the match in accordance with Rugby Australia's workload management policy, taking a rest he spurned until the Reds had played a trio of important conference games in recent weeks.

The centre had initially been slated to be benched for the Reds' clash against the Sharks in Durban last month but played, keeping Queensland in the running for the Super Rugby finals.

But with the Reds now rank outsiders to top the Australian conference, Kerevi will sit out in one of three changes made to the starting side.

Lock Izack Rodda will lead the team in his absence.

Samu Kerevi was in the thick of everything again. Photo: AFP

Harry Hoopert will start in the front row, with Duncan Paia'aua to replace Kerevi at inside centre and Seb Wileman to make his Super Rugby debut at outside centre after Chris Feauai-Sautia was ruled out with a knee injury.

The Reds have also made several changes to their bench, with Feao Fotuaika making his return from a broken thumb and Teti Tela and Adam Korczyk recalled to the 23.

Scrumhalf Scott Maloua and outside back Liam McNamara could potentially make their Queensland debuts off the bench.

Assistant coach Jim Mckay said the captaincy was a great honour for Rodda.

"He won't be doing anything different in the game but he's a leader in the team as one of our nominated senior leaders anyway, so he was the obvious choice to step up there," Mackay said.

"It's a great responsibility for him and he'll own that and do a great job.

"He has grown and he's a senior player within the group.

"I think that he'll do a terrific job for us and it's a great experience for him as well."

The changes are not a result of the Reds' loss to the Waratahs last week, with coaching staff believing each jersey is hard earned.

Assistant coach Jim Mackay said injuries had forced many of the changes, while Maloua has been given his chance to debut with Moses Sorovi lacking match fitness due to limited Super Rugby minutes in recent weeks given Tate McDermott's rise.

"Whoever plays for Queensland, every game is so special and it's a really good opportunity for the team to go over to the Chiefs," Mackay said.

"We won there last in 2013, so we're going over there to get the job done.

Outside back Seb Wileman could make his Super Rugby debut for the Reds on Friday. Photo: QRU Media/Breandan Hertel

"We picked up a bit of damage last week with injuries, especially in the centres. Chris (Feauai-Sautia) picked up a bit of a knee knock which is not serious and he failed a fitness test.

"And Samu, through the arrangement with Rugby Australia, this is one of the weeks that was selected to have a rest week.

"He's played a lot of minutes and a lot of rugby.

"It's an opportunity for Duncan (Paia'aua) to come on to the park and show people what he can do and we know he's a very good player."

"(Regardless of the player), they're going to bring energy and enthusiasm, they know our systems and I'm really looking forward to the game and how they go as well."

 The Reds take on the Chiefs at FMG Stadium Waikato on Friday, May 24 at 5:35pm AEST, broadcast live on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and via radio.




Reds to play Chiefs

1. Harry Hoopert – Brothers

2. Alex Mafi – Bond University

3. Taniela Tupou – Brothers

4. Izack Rodda – Easts (c)

5. Angus Blyth – Bond University

6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths

7. Liam Wright – Easts

8. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland

9. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland

10. Bryce Hegarty – GPS

11. Sefa Naivalu – Norths

12. Duncan Paia’aua – Nortrhs

13. Seb Wileman – Brothers

14. Jock Campbell – University of Queensland

15. Matt McGahan – Norths


16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank

17. Feao Fotuaika – Souths

18. Ruan Smith – GPS

19. Adam Korczyk – University of Queensland

20. Scott Higginbotham – Wests

21. Scott Malolua – Souths

22. Teti Tela – Souths

23. Liam McNamara – Sunnybank