Super Rugby Trans-Tasman: Vunivalu out, Laumape farewells fans

Wed, 09/06/2021, 02:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Suliasi Vunivalu has been ruled out for the Reds. Photo: Getty Images

The Reds have received a massive blow with winger Suliasi Vunivalu ruled out of their clash with the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium.

Vunivalu, who is tied for leading try-scorer across the Trans-Tasman competition, will miss the contest after he came off during last week's loss with a hamstring strain.

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Josh Flook, who was a late inclusion last week, slots onto the wing alongside Filipo Daugunu.

Fullback Mac Grealy retains his starting spot with James O'Connor still ruled out with a neck complaint, leaving O'Connor stuck on 99 Super Rugby games.

Fraser McReight returns via the bench after he was rested, whilst Angus Blyth swaps with Ryan Smith in the second-row.

“We’re looking forward to getting back over to Wellington – we haven’t been there since 2018," coach Brad Thorn said.

“The Hurricanes are playing for a finals spot and we’re expecting a tough battle against them.

“We want to finish the season well and put in a good performance for our Queensland fans back home."

It opened up for Filipo Daugunu after a Stewart cross-field kick.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes will farewell Ngani Laumape as he prepares to move to Top 14 club Stade Francais.

He will partner Billy Proctor in the centres, with Wes Goosen given a chance to start ahead of Salei Rayasi.

Hooker Asafo Aumua returns to the side after recovering from a head knock, joined in the starting side by Reed Prinsep.

With the Hurricanes needing results to go their way to make the finals after last week's loss, coach Jason Holland was eager to impress in front of their home fans.

“While we were bitterly disappointed to lose in Canberra the boys have picked themselves up and are really determined to put on a good performance for a number of reasons,” he said.

“The first of those is to reward our loyal fans with a performance they can be proud of while we really want to send those players leaving off in a positive fashion.

“Results don’t always go to the script and we have seen the Australian sides becoming a lot more competitive as this competition has gone on. We’ve felt that first hand and we know the Reds are going to provide a massive challenge."

HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua, Tyrel Lomax, James Blackwell, Scott Scrafton, Reed Prinsep, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Ardie Savea (c), Cam Roigard, Ruben Love, Wes Goosen, Ngani Laumape, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea, Jordie Barrett

Reserves: Dane Coles, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Alex Fidow, Liam Mitchell, Devan Flanders, Luke Campbell, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Salesi Rayesi

INs: Reed Prinsep, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Asafo Aumua

OUTs: Ricky Riccitelli, Brayden Iose, Gareth Evans

REDS (1-15): Feao Fotuaika, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright (co-c), Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott, Bryce Hegarty, Filipo Daugunu, Isaac Henry, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Mac Grealy

Reserves: Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Fraser McReight, Kalani Thomas, Hudson Creighton, Moses Sorovi,

INs: Fraser McReight, Bryce Hegarty, Josh Nasser, Hudson Creighton, Kalani Thomas, Harry Hoopert

OUTs: Sam Wallis, Hamish Stewart, Suliasi Vunvalu, Richie Asiata, Dane Zander, Ilaisa Droasese

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