Super Rugby AU Round 1 teams: No Banks for Brumbies, Tahs and Rebels load up on debutants

The Waratahs will field an inexperienced side for their Super Rugby AU opener, while the Brumbies will be without star fullback Tom Banks for their clash against the Rebels.

Hit hard by injury before Round 1 after their depth already took a hit due to some player departures during the COVID-19 break, the Waratahs have named five uncapped players in their matchday squad for Friday night’s trip to Brisbane to face the Reds.

One of those debutants is towering number 8 Will Harris, who has pushed Jack Dempsey to the bench, while midfield injuries will see Joey Walton start at inside centre. Tom Horton, Tiaan Tauakipulu and Ben Donaldson are all on the bench.

Harris will be going up against two of his Junior Wallabies teammates in the Reds back row, with Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson both named to start. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto has been named at lock, while Queensland’s own slim centre stocks haven’t stopped Brad Thorn from picking James O’Connor at flyhalf.

Will Harris playing for the NSW Country Eagles

Will Harris playing for the NSW Country Eagles. (Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Brumbies will have to make do without Tom Banks in the no.15 jersey in Saturday night’s matchup with the Rebels. The fullback has a foot injury and has been replaced by Mack Hansen. Solomone Kata and Ryan Lonergan are also unavailable for the ACT side.

Their opponents have named four debutants for the match in Canberra, with Michael Stolberg and Josh Kemeny to make their first Rebels appearances in the run-on side and Efitusi Maafu and Trevor Hosea on the bench.

Reece Hodge has been named at outside centre alongside Billy Meakes, and the oft-injured Jordan Uelese will start in the no.2 jersey.

Queensland Reds vs NSW Waratahs

Reds (15-1)
Bryce Hegarty, Jock Campbell, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, James O’Connor, Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Liam Wright (c), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Harry Hoopert

Bench: Alex Mafi, JP Smith, Josh Nasser, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Angus Scott Young, Scott Malolua, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Josh Flook

Waratahs (15-1)
Jack Maddocks, James Ramm, Alex Newsome, Joey Walton, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Will Harrison, Mitch Short, Will Harris, Michael Hooper, Lachlan Swinton, Rob Simmons (c), Ned Hanigan, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Robbie Abel, Angus Bell

Bench: Tom Horton, Tetera Faulkner, Tiaan Tauakipulu Tom Staniforth, Jack Dempsey, Michael McDonald, Ben Donaldson, Tepai Moeroa

ACT Brumbies vs Melbourne Rebels

Brumbies (15-1)
Mack Hansen, Andy Muirhead, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Noah Lolesio, Joe Powell, Pete Samu, Tom Cusack, Rob Valetini, Murray Douglas, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa (c), Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper

Bench: Connal McInerney, Scott Sio, Tom Ross, Lachlan McCaffrey, Will Miller, Issak Fines, Bayley Kuenzle, Len Ikitau

Rebels (15-1)
Dane Haylett-Petty (c), Andrew Kellaway, Reece Hodge, Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua, Ryan Louwrens, Michael Wells, Richard Hardwick, Josh Kemeny, Michael Stolberg, Matt Philip, Pone Fa’amausili, Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon

Bench: Efitusi Maafu, Cameron Orr, Jermaine Ainsley, Trevor Hosea, Esei Haangana, Rob Leota, Frank Lomani, Andrew Deegan

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