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Internationals return for critical Super Rugby AU round as Western Force unveil four Pumas in starting XV

By AAP

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Queensland Reds captain Liam Wright and Brumbies counterpart Allan Alaalatoa will return from injury and suspension in Saturday’s top-of-the table Super Rugby AU clash in Brisbane.

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Wright has missed his side’s unbeaten six-game run after hurting his ankle in their only preseason clash, while Alaalatoa has served a three-game suspension.

The Reds can seal a home final with victory at Suncorp Stadium, having beaten the Brumbies in a 40-38 epic in Canberra when they last met.

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All Blacks Dane Coles, Sevu Reece, Shannon Frizell, and Scott Barrett share their favourite drills, what other position they want to play and what their number one tip is for young rugby players. Brought to you by Healthspan Elite.
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All Blacks Dane Coles, Sevu Reece, Shannon Frizell, and Scott Barrett share their favourite drills, what other position they want to play and what their number one tip is for young rugby players. Brought to you by Healthspan Elite.

Bryce Hegarty has also retained his spot at fullback in his 100th Super Rugby game, keeping Wallabies winger Filipo Daugunu on a stacked bench still missing injured speedster Suliasi Vunivalu.

“He’s been working hard on his rehab with our physio and strength and conditioning team for the past two months to ensure he’s strong and fit to return,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said of Wright.

“His leadership amongst the group has only grown and we’re looking forward to having him back out there.”

Alaalatoa’s return allows fellow Wallabies front-rower and former Reds captain James Slipper to return to the other side of the scrum with Folau Fainga’a named at hooker.

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Brumbies veteran Scott Sio returns on the bench after recovering from an elbow injury.

“Allan and Scotty are world class props, it’s a good time to get them back, they’ve both trained really well for a couple of weeks,” Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.

“Allan’s certainly keen to get back out there and lead the side through his actions, that’s what he’s all about.”

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The Rebels host Western Force on Friday, with Dave Wessels promoting Australian sevens star Lewis Holland off the bench to start for the first time in the No.12.

Fullback Tom Pincus has been moved to the bench, with Reece Hodge shifted from inside centre to fullback.

Kyle Goodwin will captain the Force in his return from injury, while Argentinian international Santiago Medrano replaces the injured Greg Holmes at tighthead prop.

It means the Force will field four Argentinians in the starting side for the first time, with Tomás Lezana, Tomás Cubelli and Domingo Miotto at No.8, 9 and 10 respectively.

– Murray Wenzel

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Internationals return for critical Super Rugby AU round as Western Force unveil four Pumas in starting XV

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