McReight headlines Reds changes for Christchurch trip

Alex Mitchell |

The Reds are hoping Fraser McReight can help them to a rare win over the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The Reds are hoping Fraser McReight can help them to a rare win over the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Queensland will hope returning Wallaby Fraser McReight provides the boost they need to knock off the Crusaders and claim a season-defining Super Rugby Pacific win.

Star flanker McReight has served a three-game suspension for a high shot that earned him a red card in the Reds’ loss to Moana Pasifika last month, and could be vital as his side tries to upset the Crusaders in Christchurch.

But it’s not all good news on the selection front for the Reds with starlet playmaker Tom Lynagh set to miss the trip with a minor hamstring niggle.

He’ll be replaced at No.10 by utility back Lawson Creighton, with fellow young gun Harry McLaughlin-Phillips named on the bench.

Winger Tim Ryan has retained his starting spot after his exceptional run-on debut against the Chiefs, where he found a game-changing hat-trick.

His emergence has pushed seasoned Wallabies winger Suliasi Vunivalu to the bench.

The Reds, who are tucked inside the top eight despite their 4-5 record, haven’t won in Christchurch since 1999.

The NSW Waratahs will be short-handed for their difficult clash with the league-leading Hurricanes, with a trio of key outs from their forward pack.

Lock Jed Holloway (concussion), back-rower Ned Hanigan (neck) and prop Tom Ross (knee) all fall out of the lineup that lost 38-22 against the Chiefs last weekend.

The returning Hayden Thompson-Stringer will start at prop, with Fergus Lee-Warner and Hunter Ward also included.

Wallaby Mark Nawaqanitawase returns at fullback for the rested Max Jorgensen.

The Western Force suffered two massive injury blows ahead of their crunch match against the Chiefs in Waikato, with halfback Nic White (knee) and lock Sam Carter (hamstring) ruled out.

Issak Fines-Leleiwasa has been promoted to the starting side to replace White. Captain Jeremy Williams has also earned a spot in the XV after playing 25 minutes in his return from a calf injury in last week’s 7-6 loss to the Highlanders.

Tom Franklin returns from concussion to partner Williams in the second row.

With their scrum out-muscled by the Crusaders, forcing an early front-row change, the Melbourne Rebels will start with Test forwards Taniela Tupoa and Jordan Uelese as well as loosehead prop Isaac Kailea for another massive challenge against the Blues.

They have also recalled skipper Rob Leota at No.8 after his successful return from a calf injury via the bench.

And the ACT Brumbies have rotated their pack for Saturday’s home game against the Fijian Drua, with six unforced changes to the side that beat the Hurricanes.

Among those included are Wallabies-capped talents Nick Frost, Tom Hooper and Connal McInerney.