Rebels signing set for Reds debut in blockbuster Wales clash

Wed, Jul 3, 2024, 6:00 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey
Reds v Rebels Highlights | Round 12 | SRP 24

Former Rebels lock Josh Canham is in line to debut for Queensland in July 19's blockbuster clash with Wales.

The Melburnian is one of two key off-season signings announced by coach Les Kiss and will commence training at Ballymore next week ahead of Queensland's tour fixtures against Wales and Tonga.

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It's a short runway into tackling the Welsh at Suncorp Stadium but Canham's services will likely be required given the Reds' limited lock stocks.

While Seru Uru looms a likely starter against Wales, Irish import Cormac Daly won't feature after undergoing AC surgery on his shoulder while Angus Blyth and Ryan Smith could find themselves in Wallaby gold against Georgia on July 20 after featuring in Joe Schmidt's national training squad.

"There's a possibility. Josh will join us next week in training so we'll see how he goes," Kiss told media on Tuesday.

"Josh will be a chance but we'll make those decisions as the week goes on. We could possibly have some Wallabies who may come back and play for us as well."

Backline trio Kalani Thomas (foot), Taj Annan (foot) and Suliasi Vunivalu (knee) are also set to miss the Reds' tour window, leaving Kiss to consider a dream call-up for one or two Hospital Cup stand-outs to face the Welsh Dragon.

"(Kalani)'s probably 12-14 weeks away, not sure if he'll make the Japanese series either, Taj's injured his other foot and is probably up to six weeks and Suli unfortunately had a MCL injury so he's up to six weeks out as well," Kiss said.

"(But) my coaches and I have been out to sessions with the clubs, we've been out to watch the games and I've got my eye on a couple players for sure.

"If we do get one or two of those guys, what a great experience for them."

Regardless of the players at his disposal, Kiss' enthusiasm to tackle Warren Gatland's side and revive touring rugby is infectious.

"When you talk to the Ealesys and the Horans and those guys who had those experiences, it seemed to happen regularly back then. It's something that's sort of been lost so it's rare as hens teeth at the moment," Kiss said.

"Wale are a massively big team in the Northern Hemisphere and I've coached against them a number of times.

"To get the opportunity to play against the Welsh Dragon … is important for us. I know our group of players will be better for it.

"When that'll come through I can't say, but it'll come through somewhere in our game."

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