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Rising star Harry McLaughlin-Phillips earns Reds start to play Rebels

By Finn Morton
Harry McLaughlin-Phillips of the Junior Wallabies makes a break during the U20 match between the Junior Wallabies and the Australian Barbarians at David Phillips Field on June 14, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Last weekend’s Reds hero at the breakdown, Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, has been handed a start in the No. 10 jersey ahead of Queensland’s clash with the Rebels in Melbourne.

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McLaughlin-Phillips, who impressed for the Junior Wallabies last year and is still only 19, is one of two changes to the Reds’ starting side.

Fijian international Peni Ravai has been called up to replace the suspended Sef Fa’agase at loosehead prop.

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As for the bench, the return of Wallaby Jordan Petaia is sure to excite Queensland fans as their rugby team searches for a second consecutive win.

The Reds haven’t lost in seven of the last eight meetings between the two Australian rivals, but the Rebels will take plenty of confidence out of winning their last matchup in March 2023.

Queensland are also looking to snap a four-match losing streak in Super Rugby Pacific outside of the Sunshine State, with their longest streak spanning seven matches from May 2019 to March 2020.

But after beating the then-undefeated Chiefs in front of their home fans at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium last weekend, and claiming third spot on the ladder as a result, the Reds are arguably the favourites ahead of this Round Four clash.

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“Jordie’s return gives us good cover in the backline for a number of position,” coach Les Kiss said in a statement.

“It’s a big challenge. As a forward pack, the Rebels have found their mojo and allowed their backline to play.

“It’s really important for us to present a connected defensive line and have a strong set-piece set a good base for us.”

The Rebels will be full of belief themselves, though, after taking down the Western Force and Moana Pasifika in back-to-back rounds.

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This clash between the Reds and Rebels is set to get underway at 6:30 pm AEST at Melbourne’s AAMI Park on Friday night.

Reds team to take on Melbourne Rebels

  1. Peni Ravai
  2. Matt Faessler
  3. Zane Nonggorr
  4. Seru Uru
  5. Ryan Smith
  6. Liam Wright (cc)
  7. Fraser McReight
  8. Harry Wilson
  9. Tate McDermott
  10. Harry McLaughlin-Phillips
  11. Mac Grealy
  12. Isaac Henry
  13. Josh Flook
  14. Suliasi Vunivalu
  15. Jock Campbell

Reserves

  1. Josh Nasser
  2. George Blake
  3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
  4. Cormac Daly
  5. John Bryant
  6. Kalani Thomas
  7. Tom Lynagh
  8. Jordan Petaia
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