Ton­gan Thor set to make de­but for Reds

The Dominion Post - - Sport -

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.

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