Reds take fresh Fiji approach with top four on the line

Wed, May 15, 2024, 6:21 AM
Murray Wenzel - AAP
by Murray Wenzel - AAP
Reds v Rebels Highlights | Round 12 | SRP 24

Flying winger Floyd Aubrey will start for the first time as part of sweeping changes by Les Kiss in a must-win game for the Queensland Reds' top-four Super Rugby Pacific hopes.

The Marist-schooled, Murgon-raised Indigenous product will be given his first big chance in Suva on Saturday, with Kiss managing dynamic winger Tim Ryan on the bench and resting Mac Grealy.

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"I'm a big believer in giving young players a go when they are good," Kiss explained.

"Tim Ryan has been proving that but it's also about managing their exposure the right way at this level. He’ll have the chance to attack this game from the bench."

Suliasi Vunivalu will start on the other wing, and Seru Uru returns from a broken thumb on the bench. 

Test hooker Matt Faessler and banged-up No.13 Josh Flook have also been rested.

Josh Nasser and Taj Annan will replace that pair, while Tate McDermott will start at halfback and James O'Connor shapes as a key late-game figure off the bench.

Two wins behind the fourth-placed Chiefs with three rounds remaining, the Reds must win in Fiji to remain in the hunt for a top-four finish and a home final.

"We're not watching the ladder intently and getting hijacked by it, but we know every win we put on the board puts pressure on other people," Kiss said.

"Get this win, it makes things possible.

"We've tried to go there fresh. A lot of lads are getting their first, second, third chance.

"It's a chance to change tack a bit."

Ryan has scored six tries in his past three games, but Aubrey poses his own threat in what is expected to be another wet Fijian affair.

"He's an instinctive type of player, those conditions often can suit him," Kiss said.

"He could do anything out of the blue, for sure." 

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