Brumbies And Reds In Top Of The Log Clash

The Queensland Reds and the Brumbies are in a top of the log clash at Suncorp Stadium 11:20 am SA Time. The Brumbies are 7 points ahead of the Reds and have already qualified to host the final of the Rugby Australia AU competition.

The Brumbies won 22-20 in the two teams' first match on the 1st of August 2020. The Brumbies won against the Force 31-14 while the Reds had a bye last weekend.

Chris Feauai-Sautia returns for the Reds from a calf injury and will start on the right-wing.

It sees Jordan Petaia shift to outside centre to cover for the loss of Josh Flook who is sidelined following surgery for a dislocated shoulder.

After successfully returning from a knee injury against the Force on the Gold Coast, Harry Hoopert will start at loosehead prop in favour of Jack Straker this weekend.

The Smith twins are officially back together at Ballymore and find themselves as Queensland’s frontrow finishing pair in two-of-three changes on the bench.

Ruan has reunited with his former Queensland team-mates after he was released from his contract at the Rebels, while JP will make his return from a neck injury.

In a further boost, Hunter Paisami has also recovered from injury and takes his place in the 23.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “We’re expecting a good battle against the Brumbies. They’ve proved the top side this season and we’re expecting a tough contest on Saturday night.

“We look forward to being in front of our Queensland fans after playing the Brumbies twice in Canberra this year.

“The bye came at a good time for us with some guys given that extra week to recover from injury. It’s a good boost having Chris, JP and Hunter all back and available to play this week.

“It’s great to see Ruan back at Ballymore. He’s slotted straight back in here and the group has got around him. He brings good experience to our pack at the backend of the season,” said Thorn.

Saturday’s match will see the QRU celebrate its ninth annual Indigenous Round, as the Reds wear their 2020 Indigenous jersey designed by QRU Future Indigenous Leaders Program graduate Shelly Booth.

The Brumbies will also play in their Indigenous jersey in what will be the first time two Australian teams will wear their respective Indigenous jerseys in a Super Rugby match.

The fixture will also see the awarding of the Frank Ivory Medal to the Reds’ player of the match. The medal is named after Queensland's first Indigenous player.

Queensland Reds: 1. Harry Hoopert, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Liam Wright, 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. James O’Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Jordan Petaia, 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 15. Jock Campbell. Replacements: 16. Josh Nasser, 17. JP Smith, 18. Ruan Smith, 19. Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20. Angus Scott-Young, 21. Moses Sorovi, 22. Bryce Hegarty, 23. Hunter Paisami.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has named Wallabies trio Folau Fainga'a, Nic White and Tevita Kuridrani in the starting side for their top of the table clash with the Queensland Reds on Saturday night.

Fainga'a will join fellow Wallaby Scott Sio in the starting front row alongside inspirational skipper Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead prop.

Up and coming lock Darcy Swain has also been recalled to the run-on side, packing down next to the experienced campaigner Cadeyrn Neville.

Two strong performances as a finisher see Rob Valetini return at blindside flanker, reigniting his combination with Will Miller and Pete Samu in the back row.

Wallabies World Cup number nine Nic White will start for the side for the first time since 2015 after making his return to Australian rugby in round eight and will partner Bauley Kuenzle who celebrates re-signing the club with another start in the no.10 jersey.

Second playmaker Irae Simone will help steer the Brumbies attack from inside centre with the experienced Tevita Kuridrani making his return to familiar number 13 jersey on Saturday night.

The rest of the outside backs remain unchanged with last week's try scorers Tom Wright, Andy Muirhead and Tom Banks maintaining a consistent feel across the back three.

After strong showings in the starting side, Connal McInerney will again be asked to provide a spark as a finisher, alongside James Slipper and Tom Ross in the front row.

Impressively athletic lock Nick Frost gets another chance in the matchday 23 with vice-captain Lachlan McCaffrey the other forward finisher.

Local product Ryan Lonergan will likely see minutes at halfback with the damaging duo of Len Ikitau and Solomone Kata adding plenty of spark to the backs should they be injected into the game.

The match will see the side wear their Indigenous jersey representing the Ngunnawal people for the second time this season, with the Reds also wearing their First Nations strip at Suncorp Stadium.

Plus500 Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said: "It's great to be able to recall players with so much experience into the side this week."

"Whitey has been great for the group since returning and the likes of Folau and Tev have been training well over the past couple of weeks and have earned their place in the team.

"The Reds are undefeated at Suncorp Stadium this year and we haven't played our best up there in the last couple of years so we know the challenge in front of us and we'll be up for it on Saturday night."

Brumbies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Will Miller, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Nic White, 10. Bayley Kuenzle, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Andy Muirhead, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Connal McInerney, 17. James Slipper, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Nick Frost, 20. Lachlan McCaffrey, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Len Ikitau, 23. Solomone Kata.

Opta Facts

The Reds have won their last three Super Rugby home matches on the bounce against the Brumbies, more than they won in their 12 such meetings prior (W2, D1, L9).

The Brumbies have won nine of their last 10 Super Rugby matches (L1); however, that lone defeat came in their most recent away game (30-12 v Rebels – Round 6, Super Rugby AU).

The Brumbies (96.4%) and the Reds (96.2%) boast the highest and second-highest ruck success rates respectively of all teams in Super Rugby AU.

Tate McDermott (Reds) has beaten 26 defenders in Super Rugby AU, more than any other player in the campaign and seven more than Brumbies’ best Irae Simone (19).

Joe Powell (Brumbies) has made 1.5 break passes per game in Super Rugby AU – the most of any player and the only player with an average of more than one per game