Young Reds dream of end to Kiwi nightmare
THE Queensland Reds have turned to a team of rookies to break a 29-game Australia Super Rugby nightmare in New Zealand.
With key stars Samu Kerevi, Scott Higginbotham and Hendrik Tui sidelined coach Nick Stiles will take a youthful team to Dunedin to face the Highlanders on Friday night.
Boosted by their comeback win against rivals the Brumbies last week, the Reds will be looking to break a massive losing streak by Aussie teams against Kiwi franchises.
The Reds will field eight players aged 23 or younger, including debutant Caleb Timu, but skipper Stephen Moore believes his side can cause an upset.
"You have to take that mindset over there," Moore said.
"We want to be really proud of the way we finish the season and this is a key part of that, going over there."
The other young guns in the Reds squad will be 19-year-olds Hamish Stewart, Reece Hewat and Jayden Ngamanu, Izack Rodda, Campbell Magnay, Izaia Perese and Alex Mafi (all 20 years of age) and James Tuttle, Taniela Tupou and Moses Sorovi (all 21)
The Highlanders will be at near full strength with All Blacks pair Ben Smith and Aaron Smith rested, but Liam Squire and Lima Sopoaga will make their return from long-term injuries.
In other Super Rugby news Wallabies halfback Nick Phipps has returned to the NSW squad for the final match of the season against the Force in Perth this Saturday, after recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of the June Tests.
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has rung the changes for his side's game against the Waikato Chiefs, rotating almost his entire starting team. In an effort to protect his stars from injury and keep his squad fresh ahead of the Super Rugby finals Larkham has made 12 changes to his starting 15.