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Ex-All Black named to start in Reds’ grudge match against Waratahs

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Former All Black Alex Hodgman will start for the Queensland Reds on Saturday night when they take on arch-rivals NSW Waratahs at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

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Hodgman, 30, is in line to debut for the Reds after previously enjoying stints with the Crusaders and Blues in New Zealand.

The New Zealand-prop has been included in a matchday squad that included nine players with Wallabies experience ahead of the newest instalment of this passionate rivalry.

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“It’s tough, it’s exciting, it’s rivalry as its best. It’s an occasion I live for,” new coach Les Kiss said in a statement.

“As a team, we know what the Waratahs are capable of and what this game means to them. Nothing is taken for granted.

“The team picked for Queensland has the responsibility to fill the jersey and taken on a NSW team we expect to be a difficult opponent.

“I’ve got good options at No. 10 and this week it is Tom Lynagh’s opportunity.

“He’s familiar with what it takes at Super Rugby level after his debut season in 2023 and he’ll bring that experience to the game.

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“Having a prop of Alex’s vast experience is fantastic. He’s played a lot of Super Rugby.”

Capped Australia internationals Liam Wright and Tate McDermott will co-captain the star-studded lineup which includes Wallabies Matt Faessler and Zane Nonggorr in the front row.

Joining those three in the Reds’ forward pack are locks Seru Uru and Ryan Smith, as well as backrowers Liam Wright, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson.

With James O’Connor set to miss at least three rounds with a hamstring injury, coach Kiss has decided to start rising star Tom Lynagh in the No. 10 shirt.

Lynagh has some genuine attacking weapons outside him, too, including Hunter Paisami and Josh Flook.

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Downlands College product Mac Grealy get the nod to start on the left wing while former NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu will run out on the right. Jordan Petaia has beaten in-from Josh Campbell in the race for the fullback jersey.

There are also three potential debutants on the bench in Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, Josh Bryant and Cormac Daly.

Reds team to take on Waratahs

  1. Alex Hodgman**
  2. Matt Faessler
  3. Zane Nonggorr
  4. Seru Uru
  5. Ryan Smith
  6. Liam Wright (cc)
  7. Fraser McReight
  8. Harry Wilson
  9. Tate McDermott
  10. Tom Lynagh
  11. Mac Grealy
  12. Hunter Paisami
  13. Josh Flook
  14. Suliasi Vunivalu
  15. Jordan Petaia

Reserves

  1. Josh Nasser
  2. Peni Ravai
  3. Sef Fa’agase
  4. Cormac Daly*
  5. John Bryant*
  6. Kalani Thomas
  7. Harry McLaughlin-Phillips*
  8. Jock Campbell

*Potential Super Rugby Pacific debut

**Queensland Reds debut

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