Slipper leads Reds in 100th match

Queensland Reds’ prop James Slipper will lead the team out in his 100th cap, after retaining the captaincy for this weekend’s match against the Stormers.

The Reds have made three changes to the starting XV which defeated the Jaguares in Buenos Aires last weekend.

Hooker Alex Mafi has been named in the starting side for the first time this season, with Brandon Paenga-Amosa shifting to the bench and Andrew Ready dropping out of the side.

Scrumhalf Ben Lucas has also been given his first start of the season, with Tate McDermott returning to the match-day 23 as reserve scrumhalf and James Tuttle dropping out.

Duncan Paia’aua is back in the starting inside centre jersey. His return has prompted a shuffle in the backline, with Samu Kerevi moving to outside centre, Chris Feauai-Sautia to the wing and Eto Nabuli to the bench.

Regular Reds captain Scott Higginbotham will make his return from suspension via the reserves, leaving Slipper to skipper the side for another week. Higginbotham’s return sees youngster Liam Wright drop out of the 23 for the first time this year.

Prop Sef Fa’agase has also been brought onto the bench for this match, in place of Ruan Smith, who made his Queensland debut last weekend.

Reds coach Brad Thorn said: “This is a really special match for James Slipper. He has been at Ballymore for more than a decade and the opportunity to play 100 games for your home state is significant. The occasion isn’t lost on anyone. We want to put in a performance we can all be proud of.

“We’ve made some changes to the side again. I’ve said a number of times we’re a work in progress and the benefit of this squad is there’s genuine depth and competition for spots.

“Alex (Mafi) has been doing a good job off the bench and we wanted to give him the chance to start. It’s a similar situation with Ben (Lucas). He brought good energy and experience to the field when he came on last week and that will be important this weekend.

“Chris and Samu have been doing a really good job in the centres but this is an opportunity for Duncan and a chance to get all three in the backline together.

“The Stormers are a tough team and we’ve had a difficult week with the travel from Argentina, but the guys are clear what their job is this weekend.”

The Reds play the Stormers at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town at 1:15am AEST this Sunday 25 March. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.

Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Adam Korczyk, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 James Slipper (c)
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Eto Nabuli

Date: Saturday, March 24
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)

- Team Talk Media
- Team Talk Media