Reds re-sign five more as 2020 squad almost complete

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

The Reds are edging closer to completing their squad for the 2020 Super Rugby season, announcing the retention of another five players.

After a raft of signing announcements last week, the Reds are set to confirm the retention of front-row pairing Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Feao Fotuaika, as well as utility Bryce Hegarty for two years.

Young playmaker Hamish Stewart has re-signed for a further three years, while centre Chris Feauai-Sautia, has recommitted for the 2020 season.

Chris Feauai-Sautia races away for the Reds' opening try against the Jaguares. Photo: Getty Images

Coach Brad Thorn, who has already locked up much of the emerging talent in the squad, said he was thrilled to secure the quintet.

“There’s a good mix of talent and experience between them, they’re a hard-working group of men," Thorn said.

"Most of them have come through the system with Queensland at Schoolboys and U20s level, or through the NRC.

“The longer we can keep this same group of men here together, the better it will be for Queensland."

Bryce Hegarty adds experience to a young Reds squad. Photo: QRU Media / Brendan Hertel

Paenga-Amosa and Alex Mafi, whose extension until the end of the 2022 season was announced last week, will push each other for the no.2 jersey in a perfect scenario for the Reds.

Paenga-Amosa made his Test debut last year in the same season he debuted for the Reds but was held out of the starting jersey by Mafi, who earnt his own place in the wider Wallabies training squad.

Potential has been a buzzword for the Reds for the past couple of seasons but they can now back that up with experience and depth across several positions.

Brisbane product Hegarty returned home last season in a swap with the Waratahs for Karmichael Hunt and finished the regular season as Super Rugby's second-highest point scorer.

Hegarty's ability to move seamlessly into the Reds' set-up was a boon not only for the team but young playmakers like Stewart and news both are locked in at Ballymore is a bonus for the club.

Hamish Stewart of the Reds makes a break during the round eight Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Stormers. Photo: Getty Images

Stewart, 21, is one of several players to have come through the championship-winning Queensland U20s coached by Thorn before moving on to the Junior Wallabies and then Reds programs.

And the Queensland Rugby Union is striving to keep the players together, believing the group - several of them now Wallabies representatives - can also achieve something special with the Reds.

The Reds made a point not to speak of their youth last season, believing it cannot be an excuse for a team that wants to become a Super Rugby force.

But in a sign of just how young their team is, Feauai-Sautia will enter his ninth edition of Super Rugby in 2020 and become the team's longest-serving player at just 26 when the season kicks off.

Injury-prone for so much of his career, the former State High student rediscovered his best form in 2019 after managing to stay fit and on the field and will form part of an exciting midfield with James O'Connor and Jordan Petaia next season.

Feao Fotuaika will make his Super Rugby debut for the Reds against the Highlanders. Photo: QRU  Media/Brendan Hertel

At 26, Fotuaika is among the older players in the Reds squad but is also one of the most inexperienced, having made his debut in 2019 after being scouted by Queensland physiotherapist and scrum coach Cameron Lillicrap while playing for Brisbane City in the NRC.

The signings bring to 25 the number of players signed to the club for 2020 and beyond.

Rugby Australia is understood to be working on the retention of some of the country's top young talent, including Reds squad members involved in the World Rugby U20 final earlier this year.

SQUAD

Reds players locked in for 2020 and beyond:

Taniela Tupou (2023)

Angus Blyth (2023)

Fraser McReight (2023)

Tate McDermott (2023)

Alex Mafi (2022)

Jordan Petaia (2022)

Hamish Stewart (2022)

Liam Wright (2021)

Angus Scott-Young (2021)

James O’Connor (2021)

Henry Speight (2021)

Brandon Peanga-Amosa (2021)

Bryce Hegarty (2021)

Feao Fotuaika (2021)

Izack Rodda (2020)

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (2020)

Ruan Smith (2020)

JP Smith (2020)

Harry Hockings (2020)

Harry Wilson (2020)

Moses Sorovi (2020)

Jock Campbell (2020)

Filipo Daugunu (2020)

Jack Hardy (2020)

Chris Feauai-Sautia (2020)

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