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Josh Flook set for milestone as Reds make eight changes to starting side

By Finn Morton
Josh Flook of the Queensland Reds looks to pass during the round eight Super Rugby Pacific match between Moana Pasifika and Queensland Reds at Semenoff Stadium, on April 12, 2024, in Whangarei, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Rising star Josh Flook will play his 50th game for Queensland on Saturday night when the Reds host the Western Force in a blockbuster Australian derby at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

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With the ninth-placed Force looking to sneak into the top eight before the end of the regular season, they’re a somewhat desperate side who aren’t be taken lightly by the Reds.

Queensland were beaten by the Force – and quite emphatically too – earlier this season, and while the Reds can’t move any higher than fifth, momentum is crucial at this time of year.

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“We recognise we need to be at our best against the Force,” coach Les Kiss said in a statement. “They have found their groove over the past five weeks.

“They have been playing some impressive rugby.

“We are looking forward to playing strongly at Suncorp Stadium in our last home game before the finals.”

One of the stories of the week is Josh Flook lining up for his 50th Queensland Reds appearance. Flook is widely considered a Wallaby-in-waiting and this is another important milestone.

Flook comes in as one of eight changes to the starting side which also includes the return of Tom Lynagh in the No. 10 jersey.

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“(Flook) personifies the quality of a player who the players love to play with and coaches love to coach,” Kiss explained.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
4
Draws
0
Wins
1
Average Points scored
44
21
First try wins
80%
Home team wins
60%

“’Flooky’ has excellent timing in attack and defence and that helps give him the upper hand in playing outside centre.

“He’s having a season he can be very proud of. To reach 50 games for Queensland is well deserved.”

Former All Black Alex Hodgman comes into the side at loosehead prop after an 80-minute with Sunnybank last weekend. Matt Faessler is also back at hooker while another former All Black in Jeffery Toomaga-Allen will line up at tighthead prop.

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Seru Uru and Ryan Smith are the two locks, while co-captain Liam Wright joins Fraser McReight and John Bryant in the backrow.

Co-captain Tate McDermott starts at halfback for the second week in a row and will partner Lynagh in the halves. Hunter Paisami and Flook are outside the pair in the midfield.

Toowoomba-product Mac Grealy will start on the left wing, with try-scoring phenomenon Tim Ryan on the other, and the always-reliable Jock Campbell out the back.

This highly anticipated Australian derby at Suncorp Stadium is set to get underway at 7:35 pm NZT on Saturday evening.

Queensland Reds to take on Western Force

  1. Alex Hodgman
  2. Matt Faessler
  3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
  4. Seru Uru
  5. Ryan Smith
  6. Liam Wright (cc)
  7. Fraser McReight
  8. John Bryant
  9. Tate McDermott (cc)
  10. Tom Lynagh
  11. Mac Grealy
  12. Hunter Paisami
  13. Josh Flook
  14. Tim Ryan
  15. Jock Campbell

Replacements

  1. Josh Nasser
  2. Sef Fa’agase
  3. Zane Nonggorr
  4. Connor Vest
  5. Joe Brial
  6. Kalani Thomas
  7. James O’Connor
  8. Taj Annan
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T
Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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