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St.George Queensland Reds A head coach Peter Wilkins has named a strong side for the Pacific Rugby Cup Final on Sunday, 23 March, at Eastwood Rugby Club in Sydney.
After winning Pool A of the Pacific Rugby Cup, Reds A will face the winners of Pool B, the Argentina PAMPAS.
With the Reds in South Africa and the National Under-20s Championships beginning on Saturday, Wilkins has had to adjust his squad to account for a number of players who are unavailable. He has looked to some of the more experienced players from Queensland Premier Rugby to help bolster the squad.
“We’ve had to go outside of the usual Reds training group to fill the squad for the match, but we’ve rewarded players who have performed well in Premier Rugby and also players who have proven credentials at this level,” Wilkins said.
“Despite the changes, training this week has been really good and the 10 new faces in the squad have brought with them fresh energy and are also challenging the existing playing group.”
Wilkins has selected a number of players who played for Reds College XV in 2013 including GPS duo Sam Grasso (halfback) and Jono Ellis (loose forward), while Haydn Hirsimaki is a Queensland Country stalwart and started at loosehead prop for Combined Country against the British & Irish Lions during last year’s June Test window.
Kirwan Sanday (prop), Jack Kimmince (prop) and Toby White (centre) who were all part of the Easts’ 2013 Queensland Premier Rugby Championship side, will also feature in the reserves.
In the starting line-up, the forwards will be bolstered by the presence of Curtis Browning, who will captain the side, while Marco Kotze (GPS) and Luke Beauchamp (Brothers) will join the starting eight.
In the backs, Nigel Genia will return to the starting number nine jersey, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi will move from fullback to flyhalf, and Queensland Premier Rugby’s leading try scorer for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Varesa Mataitini, will start on the wing.
With the Reds introducing the Wider Training Squad and Under-20s programs ahead of the 2014 Super Rugby season, Wilkins believes the Pacific Rugby Cup has been invaluable for the players involved.
“The Pacific Rugby Cup has provided a great chance for players who haven’t been selected in the Reds match-day squad, or who are returning from injury with quality game time,” Wilkins said.
“It has also provided high-level match experience for players new to the Reds set up, such as our Wider Training Squad members and a number of our Reds Under-20s players.”
The Reds are calling on their Rugby community to show its support in 2014 as they target 50,000 Members this year.
All Reds membership information can be found at www.redsmembership.com.au
Reds A side to face Argentina PAMPAS – Pacific Rugby Cup Final, Eastwood Rugby Club - Sydney, Kick off – 2:00pm (AEST)
1. Pettowa Paraka (Easts / Reds WTS)
2. Andrew Ready (Easts / Reds WTS)
3. Sef Fa'agase (University / Reds WTS)
4. Marco Kotze (GPS / Aus Barbarians)
5. Blake Enever (Reds EPS / Easts)
6. Curtis Browning (c) (Reds / University)
7. Luke Beauchamp (Brothers)
8. Tim Buchanan (University / Reds WTS)
9. Nigel Genia (Wests / Reds WTS)
10. JJ Taulagi (Reds / University)
11. Veresa Mataitini (Norths / Reds WTS)
12. Sam Johnson (GPS / Reds WTS)
13. Chris Kuridrani (Reds EPS / GPS)
14. Nigel Ah Wong (Sunnybank / Reds WTS)
15. Kimami Sitauti (Brothers / Reds WTS)
16. Haydn Hirsimaki (Sunnybank / Aus Barbarians)
17. Jack Kimmince (Easts)
18. Kirwan Sanday (Easts / Aus Barbarians)
19. James Turner (Souths)
20. Jono Ellis (GPS)
21. Sam Grasso (GPS / Aus Barbarians)
22. Toby White (Easts)
23. Todd Winkley (GPS)
16 FEBRUARY 2019