Reds coach Brad Thorn will welcome back four Wallabies when his team faces the Chiefs at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane on Friday night.
Wallabies Samu Kerevi, Taniela Tupou, Sefa Naivalu and Jordan Petaia will all make their first appearances in Queensland colours for 2019 after sitting out of their side’s 29-26 defeat at the hands of the Rebels in Ballarat last week.
“This is a great opportunity for us,” Thorn said upon the announcement of the 27-man squad.
“We had the Rebels down in Ballarat last week for a hit-out and this will be a tough engagement against a good New Zealand side.
“I think the boys will be looking forward to this and it’ll be the Chiefs last hit-out before they play the following week, so they’ll be coming with real intent. It’s also our last hit-out so I’m looking for the guys to step up from last week.”
The Chiefs have also named a 27-man squad for the trans-Tasman hit out, but none of the franchise’s eight current All Blacks have been named.
However, there is international experience in the form of one-test All Black halfback Brad Weber and 3-test Canadian lock Tyler Ardron, both of whom are starting.
New Zealand Sevens star Etene Nanai-Seturo is in line to make his first start in a Chiefs jersey, named on the left wing where he will face off against former Melbourne Storm winger Sefa Naivalu. Waikato’s young centre Quinn Tupaea, who was left out of the original Chiefs squad after a breakout Mitre 10 Cup campaign, has been named on an extended bench.
It is the last pre-season match for both sides before their Super Rugby campaigns begin.
The Chiefs kick their season off against the Highlanders at FMG Stadium Waikato next Friday, while the Reds have the bye before travelling to Dunedin to also take on the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on February 22.
REDS: Feao Fotuaika, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Harry Hockings, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright, Scott Higginbotham, Moses Sorovi, Hamish Stewart, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi (c), Chris Feauai-Sautia, Sefa Naivalu, Bryce Hegarty
Reserves: Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert, Ruan Smith, Angus Blyth, Caleb Timu, Tate McDermott, Duncan Paia’aua, Isaac Lucas, Adam Korczyk, Teti Tela, Jack Hardy, Filipo Daugunu
CHIEFS: Atu Moli, Samisoni Taukeiaho, Jeff Thwaites, Michael Allardice (c), Tyler Ardron, Mitchell Brown, Lachlan Boshier, Taleni Seu, Brad Weber, Jack Debreczeni, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Alex Nankivell, Bailyn Sullivan, Malo Tuitama, Shaun Stevenson
Reserves: Sekope Moli, Aidan Ross, Tevita Mafileo, Laghlan McWhannell, Jesse Parete, Jack Stratton, Tyler Campbell, Orbyn Leger, Sosefo Kautai, Mitchell Jacobson, Pita Gus Sowakula, Quinn Tupaea
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