Tongan Thor set to make debut for Reds
The long awaited Super Rugby debut of the ‘Tongan Thor’, Taniela Tupou, is set for this weekend.
Having moved to Australia from New Zealand, Tupou has recovered from a recent ankle injury to take his place in the Queensland Reds side on the bench.
Tupou joined Wallabies lock Kane Douglas in the Reds side for tomorrow night’s clash with the Brumbies in Canberra. Douglas is making his first appearance since the World Cup final last year, having recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Reds’ recruit Leroy Houston is also among the reserves bench.
And with Karmichael Hunt (groin) still injured, 20-year-old rookie Jack Tuttle will be thrown into the heat of battle on debut at fullback. ‘‘We’re coming off a win against the Sunwolves in our last home game and need to keep building for the remainder of the season,’’ interim co-coach Nick Stiles said.
All up, there are five changes to the Reds side that beat the Sunwolves nearly five weeks ago.
Four of Queensland’s Wallabies who featured in the 3-0 test series defeat to England – James Slipper, Nick Frisby, Samu Kerevi and Greg Holmes – have also been included, along with two who didn’t play, Houston and Liam Gill.
Houston last featured for the Reds in 2011, spending the past five years in Europe and the last three with English Premiership club Bath.
But there is no Rob Simmons, who hurt his collarbone in the Sydney test and is likely to miss the Reds’ remaining three games, giving a chance to Australian under20s representative Lukhan Tui.
Injuries to Chris Feauia-Sautia (ankle) and Junior Laloifi (thumb) have also opened up spots for winger Chris Kuridrani and centre Henry Taefu, who injured his ankle on debut in the opening round.