Super Rugby


Thanks for the Memories

As time is called on another St.George Queensland Reds season, we take a look back at the careers of those leaving Ballymore at the end of 2016 – they’ll always be part of the Reds family.

Greg Holmes has been a staple in the Reds front row for over a decade.

The country boy from Allora made his debut in 2005 and earned the first of his 27 Wallabies caps that same year.

The most-capped prop in Queensland Rugby history, overtaking Stan Pilecki in 2015, Holmes will finish with the Reds in 2016 as the most-capped Queensland player in Super Rugby history and second on the list for Queensland appearances.

Holmes’ career features several highlights including the 2011 Super Rugby Championship, his 50-metre try for the Wallabies in 2005 and his battle to return to the national side in 2015 after a seven-year absence.

Known for his aggressive, low tackles and fervour at the breakdown, Saia Fainga’a was part of the 2011 Super Rugby Championship side and an integral member of the Reds’ success between 2010 and 2013.

His strong form for Queensland helped him earn his first Wallabies cap in 2010 and he has appeared a total of 36 times for the national side.

Saia’s passion for the Queensland jersey was matched by his passion for the community as he and brother Anthony enthusiastically supported many Queensland Rugby Union initiatives. The pair have become fan favourites and will be missed by the Queensland faithful.

A hard-nosed, no-nonsense centre Anthony Fainga’a joined the Reds in 2009 following two seasons at the Brumbies.

Along with twin brother, Saia, Anthony played a major part in the resurgence of the Reds between 2010 and 2013.

Anthony’s time in the Queensland jersey was highlighted by his hard tackling which helped deliver the 2011 Super Rugby Championship and earned him 23 Wallabies caps.

A keen philanthropist, Anthony, along with Saia, has been involved in many of the Queensland Rugby Union’s community initiatives, including the Indigenous program and their own Breast Cancer Foundation.

Industrious and tough as nails, Jake Schatz has been a workhorse in the Reds back row since making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2010.

Playing most of his games at Number 8, Schatz has the ability to cover flanker and lock.

Schatz won the inaugural Frank Ivory Medal as Player of the Match in Indigenous Round against the Highlanders in 2013, the same season he claimed the Pilecki Medal as the Reds Player of the Season as voted by his teammates.

Schatz was selected in the Wallabies squad for the Rugby Championship in 2013 but a knee injury cruelly ruled him out on the eve of what would have been his debut. The versatile back rower finally earned his debut Wallabies cap 12 months later, coming off the bench against Argentina.

Tough, gritty and uncompromising are just some of the words commonly used to describe Reds prop Ben Daley.

An integral member of the 2011 Super Rugby Championship-winning side, Daley played his first game for Queensland almost 18 months before he donned the famous Reds jersey in a Super Rugby match.

Although his last few years have been cruelled by injury, Daley’s work ethic and professionalism has never waned, highlighted by his unwavering hunger to return to the Wallabies.

He has also contributed strongly to the off-field ambitions of Queensland Rugby through his ‘Be Great, Do Good’ campaign.

Although heading to a rival franchise, Reds supporters will no doubt wish Daley the best in his future endeavours.

Liam Gill made his debut for the Reds at just 18 years of age in Round 2 of the 2011 season and went on to feature in the Championship-winning final against the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium.

A remarkably skilful player, Gill has an all-round game.

With an uncanny knack of forcing turnovers, Gill is also adept with ball in hand, often acting as a link between backs and forwards and is capable of some impressive feats with the boot – as evidenced by his 40 metre drop goal against the Bulls in Pretoria in Round 8 this year.

At just 24 years old, Gill has expressed a desire to return to Ballymore at some point in his career.

A two-time winner of the Australian Under-20 Player of the Year award and captain of the national age-grade side in 2013, Curtis Browning has been a loyal servant to the Queensland jersey across four seasons of Super Rugby.

2016 has been a breakout year for Browning as he has stepped into the Number 8 jersey in place of the injured Jake Schatz.

Capable of playing all three back row positions, Browning established himself as a tough ball runner, uncompromising defender and a sneak thief at the breakdown, earning valuable turnovers for the Reds.

With Browning and fiancé Courtney Barker expecting their first child early next year, the young flanker felt the time was right to experience Rugby overseas.

Brought in as late injury cover for Kane Douglas following the Wallabies lock’s knee injury in the Rugby World Cup final, Ben Matwijow endeared himself to fans and teammates alike with his industrious work in all of the Reds’ 11 games before the June Test break.

Beginning the season on the bench, good form saw Matwijow earn a starting spot for the Round 9 clash with the Stormers in Cape Town.

He was released once Douglas was declared fit to make his Super Rugby debut, but contributed well during his brief stint in Queensland colours.

An electric attacking threat, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi earned a Super Rugby contract for the Reds following an explosive 2013 Premier Rugby season for University of Queensland, scoring 13 tries in 13 games for the Red Heavies.

Gifted with blinding speed and dynamic feet, Taulagi has the offensive ability to turn half chances into points in the blink of an eye.

The winger-fullback made his Super Rugby debut in 2014 and went on to play eight games that season.

A knee injury at the beginning of 2015 and again during the National Rugby Championship limited his chances in the Queensland jersey.

Japan’s Rugby World Cup hero Ayumu Goromaru joined the Reds in 2016 following impressive performances on the international stage in 2015.

The 30-year old Japanese Test star experienced a difficult introduction to Super Rugby and his season was cut short by injury in the Round 13 clash against the Sunwolves.

Goromaru scored the first-ever points in the historic match between the Reds and the newly formed Japanese side with a penalty goal, and went on to score 10 points with two conversions and two penalties.

While his time at Ballymore was brief, he certainly left his mark, with a throng of Japanese fans and media converging on the home of the Reds to pay homage to their hero and his new team.

An exciting attacking player, Sam Greene is a product of the Queensland Rugby pathway, earning his first cap for the Reds off the bench against the Rebels in 2015.

Greene was rewarded with selection at Super Rugby level based on his outstanding form for the Brothers club in the Queensland Premier Rugby competition.

A hard-working, skilful scrumhalf with excellent game management and vision, Scott Gale has seen limited time for the Reds, sitting behind Wallabies, Will Genia and Nick Frisby.

Gale has dominated at club Rugby level for University of Queensland, helping them to a premiership in 2014 and leading them to the Minor Premiership in 2016.

Injury to Genia allowed Gale to make his debut via the bench against the Force in 2014 and his starting debut against the Waratahs the following week in front of his home fans at Suncorp Stadium.

A product of Queensland’s development pathway, Lolo Fakaosilea has developed into a damaging back rower at Super Rugby level.

After making his debut for Queensland in 2015, Fakaosilea went on to play four times for the Reds but a preseason injury in 2016 ruined any chance of adding to that tally.

Capable of playing blindside flanker and Number 8, Fakaosilea has the aggression and physicality to intimidate even the most experienced Super Rugby campaigners.

Rugby Traveller