O’Connor has been named at five-eighth after missing last weekend’s 24-20 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch because of an ankle injury.
Hunter Paisami’s knee injury has forced Reds coach Brad Thorn into backline reshuffle.
Chris Feauai-Sautia will cover Paisami at outside centre with Bryce Hegarty coming into the starting team on the right wing.
Hegarty’s return should also resolve the Reds’ goalkicking woes after missing four attempts from four in the narrow loss to the Crusaders.
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Thorn has also made changes in the forward pack with prop Dane Zander to make his first Super Rugby start.
Angus Blyth joins Harry Hockings in the second row with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto moving back to No.6.
Both the Reds and Bulls have one win each this season and will be eager to keep their finals ambitions alive with a victory in Saturday’s match.
Reds: Dane Zander, Alex Mafi, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Harry Hockings, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Liam Wright (capt), Harry Wilson, Scott Malolua, James O’Connor, Henry Speight, Hamish Stewart, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Bryce Hegarty, Jock Campbell. Reserves: Ed Craig, Harry Hoopert, Josh Nasser, Angus Scott-Young, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Isaac Lucas, Filipo Daugunu.
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