Kiss coy on selection as Queensland eye Templeton Cup defence in Sydney

Tue, May 28, 2024, 3:00 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey

Queensland might be sevens rungs ahead of New Souths Wales but Reds coach Les Kiss is pulling little stock in the Super Rugby Pacific ladder ahead of Friday night's clash.

Australia's oldest interstate rivalry will be renewed in Round 15 with the fifth-placed Reds short odds to topple the Waratahs, who are languishing in 12th after falling to Moana Pasifika 27-12 last week.

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Darren Coleman's side have won just two matches in 2024 but Kiss remains wary of a sky-blue ambush as the Waratahs prepare to farewell their coach and a handful of senior players at Allianz Stadium.

"This is probably the most important game in the calendar for us, Tahs versus Queensland," Kiss told media on Tuesday.

"There’s a trophy up for grabs which we currently own and we want to do what’s necessary to win it."

"They’ll have reason to play well ... we know that’ll bring a lot of emotional and physical energy so we just need to be up for that."

However, with the Reds assured a quarter final berth against the Chiefs next Friday in Hamilton, Queensland are quietly assessing their options as to whom should be rested for this week's Bob Templeton Cup defence.

Co-captains Liam Wright and Tate McDermott are expected to feature but coach Kiss is playing his cards to his chest close ahead of Wednesday's formal team announcement.

"We’ve just planned to make sure we get people up and running in the right way," he said.

"Whatever we do there’s a design behind it and we’ll back it but it’s a team to win the game."

Queensland's depth could allow the likes of Harry McLaughlin-Phillips and prop Massimo De Lutiis, both of whom featured in Hospital Cup last weekend, to return while Floyd Aubrey could be parachuted back into a matchday squad ahead of Suliasi Vunivalu, who missed last week's 59-13 win over the Force to suspension.

"The most important thing is that if we do have a challenge in terms of an injury or some load management, we’ve been really pleased that whoever we’ve pulled up has aimed up and done a good job," Kiss said.

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