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Reds name side for season-opener

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Reds name surprise debutants for season-opener against Highlanders

The Reds have named their side for their season-opening clash against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday.

Samu Kerevi will captain the side from the midfield after attaining the leadership duties for the season, and will be supported by vice-captain Izack Rodda in the second row.

They are among seven Wallabies named in the starting side, with Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Caleb Timu, Sefa Naivalu and Chris Feauai-Sautia also set to provide international experience.

Naivalu will be making his Queensland debut from the left wing following his transfer from the Rebels in the off-season, as will fullback Bryce Hegarty, who has moved north from the Waratahs.

The duo won’t be the only debutants, with Feao Fotuaika set to make his first Super Rugby appearance from loosehead prop.

Fraser McReight and Isaac Lucas are also in line to make their debuts at this level after being named on the bench.

The side also features young halves pairing Moses Sorovi and Hamish Stewart, a pair of which Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger highlighted as potential threats.

“Hamish Stewart, they’ve got Moses Sorovi at nine, who performed really well in their pre-season games, and starting to take a bit of confidence and lead their team around, so they’ll be a very tough challenge this week,” he told RugbyPass earlier today.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said he was excited to see his new men in action.

“As a group, we congratulate all the new men on their Queensland selection,” he said.

“It’s good to see two young guys like Fraser and Isaac come through the Queensland pathway and progress their rugby to the next level. They’ve really impressed us during the pre-season and have been rewarded for their hard work.

“Bryce has been rock-solid since joining us. He offers versatility in the backline and is a great communicator, while we’re excited to see Sefa show off his skills for the first time in a maroon jersey. The two of them bring good experience and have been great around the group.

“The Highlanders are a quality team. It’s tough to win in Dunedin, so we’ll need to be at our best and execute what we’ve worked on.”

Reds team to play the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday:

1. Feao Fotuaika
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Taniela Tupou
4. Izack Rodda (vc)
5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
6. Angus Scott-Young
7. Liam Wright
8. Caleb Timu
9. Moses Sorovi
10. Hamish Stewart
11. Sefa Naivalu
12. Samu Kerevi (c)
13. Jordan Petaia
14. Chris Feauai-Sautia
15. Bryce Hegarty

Reserves:

16. Alex Mafi
17. Harry Hoopert
18. Ruan Smith
19. Harry Hockings
20. Fraser McReight
21. Tate McDermott
22. Duncan Paia’aua
23. Isaac Lucas

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Reds name surprise debutants for season-opener against Highlanders