Queensland Reds team news

Queensland Reds team news

Joe Brial and Connor Vest have been elevated to the starting pack for the Queensland Reds’ clash against the NSW Waratahs in Sydney on Friday night.

Both forwards have impressed with their determined work during the Super Rugby Pacific season to earn this opportunity in the latest edition of Australian rugby’s oldest rivalry.

Brial, 22, comes in at No.8 for his first run-on role after four cameos off the bench in his debut season of Super Rugby Pacific.

Vest, 30, will start at lock in place of Ryan Smith, who is on the bench after playing more minutes than any other tight forward in Australia this season in 13 strong run-on appearances.

In the front-row, Wallaby Zane Nonggorr will start at tighthead ahead of Jeffery Toomaga-Allen as the Reds’ smart management of their prop stocks continues.

“Our focus is on the fact this is probably the most important game in the calendar for Australian rugby, the ‘Tahs v Queensland,” Reds head coach Les Kiss said of the Templeton Cup clash.

“From our point of view, we have to make sure we stay on task. This game is important. There’s a trophy up for grabs which we currently own and we want to make sure we do what is necessary to win it.”

Kiss said the traditional interstate occasion guaranteed a willing contest.

“It's Queensland v NSW. I don’t think you need fear whether both teams will be ready for this. It’ll be a good game,” Kiss said.

Lawson Creighton slots in at flyhalf with Tom Lynagh to enter the game from the bench at Allianz Stadium.

“It’s great to have the options we do at No.10," Kiss said.

“’Lawso’ has shown really good form. He will start. Tom had his first big outing after a break last weekend against the Western Force and will be a finisher in this game.

“Joe has really engaged with the Reds program since joining us late last year. He has got better and better and has worked very hard for this chance.

“’Vesty’ has contributed all year. He has worked hard through club footy and in his Reds' chances to earn this."

Brial’s childhood was split between Queenstown and Sydney. He holds the rare achievement of playing for both the Junior Wallabies and New Zealand Under-20s.

There is a significance to facing the Waratahs, the side that father Michael captained en route to playing for the Wallabies in the 1990s.

“It’s unreal to get this first start in Sydney against the Waratahs,” the 114kg Brial said.

“It’s a great feeling. The games I’ve played off the bench have shown me I’m ready for it at this level.

“It’s been a good year at the Reds and the coaches have helped me develop those really important areas for a backrower, the ball-carry and breakdown.”

Brial said his father had given him words of advice at times through the season.

“Most of all, he just said stick with it, keep working hard, and it’s paid off," Brial said.

“I’ll have 20-odd family at the game. I know what cap Dad will be wearing…you'll have to wait and see.”
Queensland Reds v NSW Waratahs
Friday 31 May Allianz Stadium, Sydney
7:35pm AEST 
Watch live Stan Sport
1.   Alex Hodgman – Sunnybank – Mount Albert Grammar School, Auckland – Suburbs Rugby Football Club, Auckland
2.  Matt Faessler – Brothers – Toowoomba Grammar School – USQ Saints 
3.  Zane Nonggorr – Bond University – The Southport School – Gold Coast Eagles  
4.  Connor Vest – Souths - Grafton High School - Grafton Junior Rugby Club
5.  Seru Uru – Wests, Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji – Namoli Rugby Club, Fiji
6.   Liam Wright (cc) – Easts – Anglican Church Grammar School - Easts 
7.   Fraser McReight – Brothers – Brisbane Grammar School – Albany Creek Brumbies 
8.   Joe Brial – University of Queensland – Scots College – Easts, Sydney
9.   Tate McDermott (cc) - University of Queensland - Sunshine Coast Grammar School - Flinders Rugby Club
10. Lawson Creighton - Brothers - Padua College
11. Mac Grealy – University of Queensland – Downlands College – Souths Toowoomba
12: Hunter Paisami – Wests – Mangere College, Auckland 
13. Josh Flook – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College - Brothers 
14. Tim Ryan – Brothers – St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe
15. Jock Campbell – University of Queensland – The Southport School – Inverell Highlanders 
16. Josh Nasser – University of Queensland - St Joseph’s Gregory Terrace - Easts 
17. Peni Ravai – Easts – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji 
18. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen - Norths - Wellington College, NZ  
19. Ryan Smith – Brothers – St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe – Caboolture Snakes 
20. John Bryant - Souths - St Laurence’s College - Souths
21.  Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland – Ipswich Grammar School - Souths
22. Tom Lynagh – University of Queensland – Epsom College, England – Richmond Rugby Club
23. Taj Annan – Souths – Brisbane Boys’ College – Merewether Carlton

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