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20 year-old Reds rookie set to debut on the wing

Rookie winger Jack Hardy is the beneficiary of Brad Thorn’s backline reshuffle at the Queensland Reds, earning a maiden Super Rugby start against the Stormers in Brisbane.

Thorn has made three personnel changes for Friday’s match and a handful of positional switches as they seek to rebound from last week’s 32-13 loss to the Melbourne Rebels.

Twenty-year-old Hardy and forwards Harry Hockings and Brandon Amosa-Paenga are the new faces in the starting lineup, with outside centre Chris Feauai-Sautia (hamstring) and flanker Angus Scott-Young (concussion) ruled out.

Hardy, who has made two bench cameos, will start on the left wing, with Sefa Naivalu shifted in one spot to outside centre and skipper Samu Kerevi also shuffled infield to oust Duncan Paia’aua from the No.12 jersey.

“Jack is a talented footballer and has impressed us since joining us in the pre-season,” Thorn said.

“He’s had two good games off the bench against the Tahs and the Rebels. He deserves his spot.”

Hardy spent his younger years in the Western Force age grade teams but has relocated to Brisbane for 2019 in order to represent one of Australia’s current Super Rugby franchises.

The versatile Lukhan Salakaia-Loto shifts from lock to the blindside flank, making room for Hockings to pack down alongside Izack Rodda in the second row.

A third change is at hooker, where former bench man Amosa-Paenga undergoes a straight swap with Alex Mafi.

The Reds’ fourth loss last week leaves them sharing last place on the ladder alongside the Jaguares and Sunwolves.

They face three straight matches against South African opposition, including two in the Republic against the Sharks and Bulls.

QUEENSLAND REDS

Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daungunu, Sefa Naivalu, Samu Kerevi (capt), Jack Hardy, Bryce Hegarty, Tate McDermott, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Harry Hockings, Izack Rodda, Ruan Smith, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, JP Smith. Res: Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Fraser McReight, Moses Sorovi, Duncan Paia’aua, Isaac Lucas.

– RugbyPass/AAP

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20 year-old Reds rookie set to debut on the wing