Reds vs Highlanders: Queensland Forced to Reshuffle Lineup Ahead of Clash

Reds vs Highlanders: Queensland Forced to Reshuffle Lineup Ahead of Clash

The Queensland Reds are dealing with a rash of injuries and suspensions as they prepare to host the Highlanders this Friday, April 19. After a narrow 17-14 loss to Moana Pasifika last weekend, the Reds have lost several key players, putting their depth to the test. Reds vs Highlanders kickoff 5:35 p.m. at Suncorp Stadium.

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Injuries and suspensions plague the Reds

Co-captain Tate McDermott and flanker Fraser McReight both received red cards in the match against Moana Pasifika, ruling them out for the upcoming game. Adding to the Reds’ woes, promising forward Seru Uru will be sidelined for up to six weeks after undergoing thumb surgery. Outside Josh Flook (shoulder) will also miss the match.

Head coach Les Kiss acknowledged the challenges his team is facing, calling the situation “not ideal.” However, he remains optimistic about the opportunity to test the depth of the Reds’ roster.

Reds vs Highlanders lineup changes

With the absences, Kiss is likely to shuffle his lineup for the crucial clash against the Highlanders. Jordan Petaia could move to outside centre to cover for Flook’s injury, while Mac Grealy is expected to return to the wing.

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In the forward pack, Angus Blyth could start in place of the injured Uru, while Cormac Daly is another option to bolster the squad. Kiss may also promote Junior Wallabies back-rower John Bryant to replace the suspended McReight, or shift co-captain Liam Wright to his preferred position at openside flanker.

Reds look to bounce back against New Zealand opposition

The Reds will be eager to bounce back from their surprise defeat against Moana Pasifika, where Queensland lost the lead with less than two minutes to go.

“Fans have come out to support us really well at Suncorp Stadium and we’ll want to atone for sure,” Kiss declared after the loss.

The team will now face a tough stretch of matches against New Zealand opposition, starting with the Highlanders this Friday.

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Despite the challenges, Kiss remains confident in his team’s ability to respond and regain their early-season form.

“The opportunity in this now is to give a little bit more exposure to players who were playing off the bench and other players in the program to step up too,” he said.

Published 17-April-2024