Vunivalu to debut while Taniela starts and Swinton returns

Wed, Feb 24, 2021, 7:05 AM
by AAP
Benefits of the new Line Dropout law

Round Two of Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU this weekend and all the team news is here from 6pm AEDT Wednesday 24 February.

The Queensland Reds host the Melbourne Rebels on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium from 7.45pm AEDT to open Round Two.

Then, on Saturday night, the NSW Waratahs travel down the Hume Highway to face old rivals, the Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra from 7.45pm AEDT.

Pre-register for Stan Sport now to watch every minute of Super Rugby AU. The new add-on Sport package is available for just $10 a month with customers able to get a 30-day free trial for a limited time only.

All your team news here from 6pm AEDT ahead of Round Two of Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU.

Friday 26 February 7:45pm AEDT - Queensland Reds vs Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport.

Want to get to the game? Make sure you’ve got your tickets beforehand!

Reds headline recruit Suliasi Vunivalu has been named for his Super Rugby debut after serving a one-match suspension served by the QRU.

Vunivalu is one of four changes to Brad Thorn's side with star prop Taniela Tupou returning to his starting role.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “It’s great to have another home game in front of our Queensland fans at the start of the season.

“You saw some good things last week, but there’s room for improvement and areas we need to work on.

“The Rebels had the bye in Round 1 and will be looking to open their account, so we’re expecting a tough contest from them.

“Three guys made their debuts last week and we could have another two on Friday which is great for the growth and depth of Queensland Rugby,” said Thorn.

Meanwhile the Rebels have started a recruit of their own with Joe Powell set for his first game since helping the Brumbies to the Super Rugby title last year.

The diminutive number 9 will partner with new captain Matt To'omua in the halves while versatile back Reece Hodge is at inside centre.

REDS: (1-15): Dane Zander, Alex Mafi, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Seru Uru, Angus Scott-Young, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, James O'Connor (c), Filipo Daugunu, Hamish Stewart, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Jock Campbell

Reserves: Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Feao Fotuaika, Ryan Smith, Sam Wallis, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Suliasi Vunivalu

INs: Josh Nasser, Sam Wallis, Suliasi Vunivalu

OUTs: Richie Asiata, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Ilaisa Droasese

REBELS (1-15): Cabous Eloff, Jordan Uelese, Pone Faamausili, Steve Cummins, Trevor Hosea, Brad Wilkin, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Joe Powell, Matt To'omua (c), Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge, Stacey Ili, Lachlan Anderson, Tom Pincus

Reserves: Ed Craig, Isaac Aedo Kailea, Rhys van Nek, Rob Leota, Josh Kemeny, James Tuttle, Glen Vaihu, Frank Lomani

Saturday 27 February 7:45pm AEDT – Brumbies vs NSW Waratahs at GIO Stadium, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport and simulcast on 9Gem.

Get down to the game! Make sure you’ve got your tickets beforehand!

The Brumbies have made just the one injury enforced change for their clash with the Tahs, with Connal McInerney promoted in the absence of hooker Folau Fainga'a who has succumbed to a toe injury. 

Rising star Lachlan Lonergan takes his spot amongst the reserves as the Brumbies aim to go two-from-two to start their Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU title defence.

Rob Penney meanwhile has made four changes, with injury and suspension decimating his side for their trip to the Capital.

Lachlan Swinton returns after serving his suspension during last year's Test season while Jack Grant and Tepai Moeroa replace Jake Gordon and Joey Walton respectively.

New skipper Alex Newsome shifts to outside centre with Mark Nawaqanitawase to start on the right wing. 

BRUMBIES (1-15): James Slipper, Connal McInerney, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Darcy Swain, Cadeyrn Neville, Rob Valetini, Jahrome Brown, Pete Samu, Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Mack Hansen, Irae Simone, Len Ikitau, Andy Muirhead, Tom Banks

Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Harry Lloyd, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Tom Cusack, Ryan Lonergan, Reesjan Pasitoa, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa

INs: Lachlan Lonergan

OUTs: Folau Fainga'a (toe)

WARATAHS (1-15): Angus Bell, Tom Horton, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Sam Caird, Jack Whetton, Lachlan Swinton, Carlo Tizzano, Jack Dempsey, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, James Ramm, Tepai Moeroa, Alex Newsome (c), Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jack Maddocks

Reserves: David Porecki, Tetera Faulkner, Sio Tatola, Jeremy Williams, Hugh Sinclair, Henry Robertson, Tane Edmed, Triston Reilly

INs: Lachlan Swinton, Tepai Moeroa, Triston Reilly, Henry Robertson

OUTs: Will Harris, Jake Gordon, Joey Walton, Izaia Perese

CRUSADERS UNLOAD STARS: Round one of Super Rugby Aotearoa edges closer

WHERE A CLASSIC RIVALRY BEGINS: Brumbies against the Tahs

NO MORE CASES: France COVID cases settle

Queensland will face the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights for the third year running in 2024
Reds Tour confirmed to play the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan
'Entertainers' out to thrill at Paris Olympics as Levis embrace big stage
Reds-Wales clash to draw biggest Brisbane crowd since 2021 Super Rugby AU decider
Inside the Wallabies ‘special’ scrum sessions designed to weaponise set-piece