Queensland Reds

Queensland Reds cut former Wallaby as 2021 Super Rugby squad announced

Headlined by a strong Wallabies contingent of James O’Connor, Taniela Tupou, Harry Wilson, Jordan Petaia, Filipo Daugunu, Tate McDermott, Liam Wright, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Hunter Paisami, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Fraser McReight, head coach Brad Thorn has retained the core of the squad that enjoyed plenty of success in 2020.

Factor in the high-profile acquisitions of new rugby league convert Suliasi Vunivalu and teenage sensation Mac Grealy, and the Queensland franchise’s prospects remain bright as they look to challenge for titles both in Australia and across the Tasman.

Concussed Jordan Petaia shifted to wing for Reds' decider with Brumbies

Petaia was dazed after a tackle gone wrong in last week’s qualifying final defeat of Melbourne Rebels, ending a night that had already included an intercept try and near-miss.

But he has cleared all concussion protocols to face the Brumbies on Saturday night, who welcome their own young gun Noah Lolesio back from injury to steer the ship at No.10.

Petaia will loom large on the flank as the Reds attempt to snap a six-year losing streak in Canberra, while prop JP Smith will start ahead of Harry Hoopert.

O'Connor kicks Reds to win as rugby returns in Oz

The Wallabies utility back struck in the 76th minute, giving the Reds victory after 11 successive defeats by their southern rivals and leaving home fans happy at the end of a scrappy display from both teams.

The first match of Australia's domestic "Super Rugby AU" brought a modest crowd to Lang Park, with groups of fans spaced apart in the terraces to maintain social distancing.

They saw a willing, if error-strewn contest, as players struggled to shake off the rust from a long break following the suspension of the wider Super Rugby competition in March.

Blues crush Maroons in Perth to keep Origin series alive

But after a week of intense criticism and questioning, Brad Fittler's controversial selections, and non-selections, have been justified after NSW kept the series alive with an emphatic 38-6 win against Queensland in Perth on Sunday night.

The Maroons were totally outclassed and out-enthused by a NSW team that had spent an entire week working on working harder.

More effort, Fittler wanted. Effort he got.

James Maloney strolled into Blues camp exactly seven days ago, after repeatedly being snubbed in the weeks prior, asking the coach if he had lost his number.

McReight's debut another bonus for Reds from Brumbies win

McReight, the Australian under-20 player of the year in 2018, is tipped as a star of the future set to become a fixture in the Reds backrow.

The former Brisbane Grammar student has been setting competitions alight since making a switch from the centres to become a workaholic openside flanker who became an Australian schoolboys representative at 16.

While he was named in the Reds' squad for the opening match of the season against the Highlanders in Dunedin, McReight did not play and had to wait for his moment.

"It was tough," McReight said of missing out.

Higginbotham and Smith return, Salakaia-Loto switches to six

The pair will return on the bench, with Queensland also making two changes to their starting XV.

Harry Hockings will start at lock, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto shifting to flanker, while Angus Scott-Young will start at No.8 with Caleb Timu on the bench.

Izack Rodda will also play, determined to help the Reds try and arrest the Crusaders record 17-game winning streak despite the death of his father last week.

"It's great to be back": Hunt breaks silence after comeback

The banished Reds star returned to rugby with a 30-minute cameo in Souths's 24-all draw at Bond University - the Magpies erasing a 24-12 deficit after Hunt entered the fray.

He helped set up the try which laid the platform for a grandstand finish and threw the final, looping cutout which put star winger Emori Waqavulagi in for his third try of the afternoon - Quade Cooper missing a shot two metres in from touch after the final siren to leave the score deadlocked.

Tongan Thor makes his presence felt

He just got a whole lot better in every other department.

Jet-heeled prop Tupou showed he is ready to add to his one substitute appearance for the Wallabies with an eye-catching display for the Queensland Reds in their 38-34 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington.

Tupou powered over for one try and set up another for winger Jordan Petaia with a spectacular 30-metre burst and offload down the left flank.

Ready to return for Reds

Ready has been overlooked for Queensland's first three games this season, Brandon Paenga-Amosa taking the opportunity as starting hooker with both hands and Alex Mafi doing a fine job as a late game finisher.

But Thorn, who has made a handful of changes to the team that beat the Bulls, has seen enough from the highly touted 24-year-old to hand him a chance this weekend.

There's just one change to the starting XV but it's a significant one, Angus Scott-Young slotting into the backrow for his Super Rugby start, ahead of Liam Wright.

Queensland Reds fine Smith over Tokyo arrest

Smith was arrested in Japan on New Year's Eve for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver, detained for 18 days by Japanese authorities, with the Reds only learning of the incident when it was reported in the Japanese media well after the fact.

RUGBY.com.au understands the 37-year-old met with Reds CEO Richard Barker and other stakeholders upon his return to Brisbane last week, asked to explain how he landed himself in hot water on New Year's Eve.