Super Rugby teams round 8: Tahs drop Marky Mark, Kellaway returns for Rebels, HMP replaces Lynagh


Mark Nawaqanitawase has been left out of the Waratahs team to host the Crusaders while Andrew Kellaway returns after injury for the Rebels.

Triston Reilly has been named ahead of Marky Mark, who can’t make it onto the bench.

In a statement, the Tahs said “Reilly delivered many impressive performances earlier in the season and his work ethic at training and irresistible form for Randwick last weekend has seen him leapfrog Mark Nawaqanitawase onto the right wing.”

See how all the team news unfolds below.

(All times are AEST)


Moana Pasifika vs Reds, 5.05pm

Harry McLaughlin-Phillips will start for the second time in his rookie season, with the teenager given the nod No.10 ahead of Tom Lynagh.

After being given a spell for their loss against the Brumbies, the 19-year-old comes in for their clash across the ditch against Moana Pasifika on Friday evening.

Lawson Creighton, the utility back who can play anywhere across the backline, has been preferred on the bench ahead of Lynagh.

The change at fly-half is one of two changes to the side, with Suliasi Vunivalu also returning on the wing. His return sees Mac Grealy drop back to the bench.

Harry McLaughlin-Phillips of the Reds looks to pass during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between Queensland Reds and NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium, on February 24, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks prop Alex Hodgman returns via the bench, while Angus Blyth makes his return after an early season injury.

“Harry deserves a start and we freshen up Tom (Lynagh). We are fortunate with our stocks at No.10 but also aware of the player management needed over a long season,” Reds head coach Les Kiss said.

“Both are getting invaluable experience and playing plenty of minutes. Lawson (Creighton) has positive time under his belt as well and gives us versatility on the bench.

“Suli returns on the wing. Again, we have given consideration to player management with Mac, who has played a lot of minutes and will give us his flair in the back end of the game.”

Kiss has been banging the drum all week about the danger Tana Umaga’s side presents, with Moana Pasifika a physical force to be reckoned with despite winning just two of their opening seven matches.

“I see an opposition team with enormous experience through Tana Umaga, Stephen Jones and Tom Coventry on the coaching staff and the likes of Christian Lealiifano, Julian Savea and Sekope Kepu in the playing squad,” Kiss said.

“This is a real challenge and an exciting one against a physical team with a lot of strike power.”

Moana rookie Allan Craig will run out on his home turf for the first time in Super Rugby Pacific.

Born and raised in Ahipara, Craig spent his teenage years in the Northland city where he captained the Whangārei Boys High School’s 1st XV.

The 21-year-old has been picked at lock.

“Being born and raised there, playing for the Tanis (Taniwha) was a huge goal growing up and getting to do that means a lot. Now getting to play a Super game there it will be awesome to play in front of my home crowd,” said Craig.

Moana Pasifika Assistant Coach Stephen Jones said: “It’s going to be an awesome place to play. I’ve never been there and I’ve heard great things about the ground and the place. I know for Allan Craig it’s extra special and will be a proud moment for him and his family.”

Head Coach Umaga has made changes to this week’s team with Abraham Pole, Samiuela Moli and Sione Mafileo starting in the front row.

Jacob Norris gets the nod to start at flanker, meanwhile Sione Havili Talitui will wear the skipper’s arm band at number 8.

In the backline Ereatara Enari gets the start at halfback and William Havili at number 10. Fine Inisi moves out to the left wing and Henry Taefu rejoins the squad at centre.

Viliami Fine shifts out to the right wing and Danny Toala returns to fullback.

Bringing impact off the bench is Sama Malolo, Sateki Latu, Sekope Kepu, Ola Tauelangi, Miracle Faiilagi, Melani Matavao, Christian Lealiifano and Nigel Ah Wong.

????RUGBY PODCAST!????@MoanaPasifika_ is crafting a proud Pacific identity.@ChristypDoran and @mtoomua are joined by Wallaby legend Sekope Kepu to discuss building a team from the ground up, the anniversary of the Waratahs 2014 title, and more.


— The Roar (@TheRoarSports) April 9, 2024

PASIFIKA (1-15): Abraham Pole, Samiuela Moli, Sione Mafileo, Tom Savage, Allan Craig, Irie Papuni, Jacob Norris, Sione Havili Talitui (c), Ereatara Enari, William Havili, Fine Inisi, Julian Savea, Henry Taefu, Viliami Fine, Danny Toala

RESERVES: Sama Malolo, Sateki Latu, Sekope Kepu, Ola Tauelangi, Miracle Faiilagi, Melani Matavao, Christian Lealiifano, Nigel Ah Wong

REDS (1-15): Peni Ravai, Matt Faessler, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Seru Uru, Ryan Smith, Liam Wright (co-c), Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (co-c), Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, Jordan Petaia, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell

RESERVES: Josh Nasser, Alex Hodgman, Zane Nonggorr, Angus Blyth, John Bryant, Kalani Thomas, Lawson Creighton, Mac Grealy

Referee: Angus Mabey

Assistant Referees: Marcus Playle, Nick Hogan

Waratahs vs Crusaders, 7.35pm

Darren Coleman has welcomed back Wallabies Ned Hanigan and Langi Gleeson, but the Waratahs have lost Angus Bell for the season.

It’s a devastating blow for the Waratahs, with Bell one of the Wallabies’ best young prospects and a pillar of strength up front.

He’s the fourth of seven contracted props to go down, which comes off the back of the long-term injuries to hookers Dave Porecki (Achilles) and Mahe Vailanu (knee).

In Bell’s absence, Lewis Ponini will make his Super Rugby Pacific debut from the reserves list with Hayden Thompson-Stringer to start alongside Julian Heaven and Harry Johnson-Holmes up front.

“It’s a good opportunity for Lewis,” Coleman said. “As they say when one door shuts another one opens. I think you’ll see a really enthusiastic performance out of him against the Crusaders.

“He has actually spent some time in his life in Christchurch, so he is quite familiar with a few of the boys he’ll be playing against.”

Hanigan’s will partner Jed Holloway in the second-row, with Fergus Lee-Warner dropping out of the squad.
The final change in the pack sees Langi Gleeson return after suffering a concussion, with Hugh Sinclair to come off the bench.

In the backline and Coleman has made two changes.

The first sees Izaia Perese return at outside centre, where he’ll partner Lalakai Foketi in the midfield.

The second sees Wallaby Nawaqanitawase dropped, with Reilly, who was excellent for Randwick last weekend, coming onto the right-wing.

“Triston deserves his chance,” Coleman said. “We all saw what he did against the Crusaders last time. He missed out for a couple of weeks there, but he took it in the right way.

“He went back and worked hard on his game, stayed positive and played really well for Randwick on the weekend in the Shute Shield. His effort areas like kick-chase and defence are really strong and I’m looking forward to what he can provide us this weekend.

“It’s been a big headache in our backline but a good headache to have. This week we have all of our contracted backs available which is unheard of. As a result, we’ve got some good players missing out.”

Meanwhile, Coleman said Bell was in Brisbane on Wednesday to get further information regarding his injured toe.

Angus Bell reacts after suffering yet another toe injury against the Brumbies. Photo: Stan Sport

“Losing Angus is a big blow. Not only for the team but for Australian rugby. He took it pretty hard but there’s a bit of the clouds lifting,” Coleman said.

“He’s up in Brisbane on Wednesday to see another specialist and get a plan on how he can do a bit of remodelling on his foot to alleviate the pressure that goes through his toe.

“At this stage, he’s still gathering opinions from specialists. He’s got some really good medical support around him through the Wallabies and our own medical staff who can advise him. He’ll pick a pathway forward over the next week or so and get on with the rehabilitation of that injury.

“The injuries to our props are really starting to hit the squad. Up front, we’re struggling. There’s no doubt we’re lacking a bit of depth there at the moment. We’ve lost four of our seven contracted props for the season and that’s unheard of, along with our top two hookers in David Porecki and Mahe Vailanu. We’ve got our work cut out to reconfigure a few things and guys like Harry Johnson-Holmes and Hayden Thompson-Stringer are crucial to us at the moment.”

The Crusaders are looking stronger after the bye week, with All Blacks loose-forward Ethan Blackadder and Brodie McAlister back in the fold.

Blackadder will start at blindside flanker, while McAlister has been named as George Bell’s deputy on the bench at hooker. Noah Hotham retains starting halfback role after an impressive display against the Chiefs two weeks ago.

The only other change sees Christian Lio-Willie named on the bench.

After going down 37-24 to the Waratahs in Super Round, Rob Penney’s side will be eager for a quick reply and back-to-back wins.

WARATAHS (1-15): Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Julian Heaven, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Jed Holloway, Ned Hanigan, Lachlan Swinton, Charlie Gamble, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon (c), Tane Edmed, Dylan Pietsch, Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Triston Reilly, Max Jorgensen

RESERVES: Theo Fourie, Lewis Ponini, Tom Ross, Miles Amatosero, Hugh Sinclair, Jack Grant, Will Harrison, Joey Walton 

CRUSADERS (1-15): George Bower, George Bell, Fletcher Newell, Quinten Strange, Jamie Hannah, Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie (c), Cullen Grace, Noah Hotham, Riley Hohepa, Johnny McNicholl, Dallas McLeod, Levi Aumua, Sevu Reece, Chay Fihaki

RESERVES: Brodie McAlister, Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Dominic Gardiner, Christian Lio-Willie, Mitch Drummond, Rivez Reihana, Macca Springer

Referee: Nic Berry

Assistant Referees: Damon Murphy, Jordan Kaminski.


Hurricanes vs Chiefs, 5.05pm

Chiefs lock Tupou Vaa’i will celebrate his 50th Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes.

Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said: “Tupou Vaa’i started at the Chiefs as a young raw talent, plucked from relative obscurity, that has now developed into a quality lock and key figure in our forward pack.

“Neil Barnes in particular deserves credit for accelerating Tupou’s development which saw him elevated to the All Blacks at such a young age.

“Tupou is an outstanding athlete, a real student in his set-piece roles, and an ever-increasing physical presence in his contact work. I have no doubt he is going to play a huge role for us and the All Blacks in the coming years.”

Vaa’i said of his milestone: “I’m truly grateful and blessed to be able to play 50 games for a club that I have so much faka’apa’apa (respect) for.”

Vaa’i will be joined by Naitoa Ah Kuoi at lock, with Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho and Reuben O’Neill completing a strong tight five. Samipeni Finau commands his spot at blindside flanker with captain Luke Jacobson shifting into openside and exciting rookie Wallace Sititi claiming another start at No.8.

Cortez Ratima and Damian McKenzie are at No.9 and No.10 returns, with Anton Lienert-Brown and Daniel Rona adding energy in the midfield. Etene Nanai-Seturo, Emoni Narawa and Shaun Stevenson reunite in the backline.

The Hurricanes have opted for a 6-2 split with halfback Richard Judd and centre fielder Peter Umaga-Jensen providing cover for the backs.

Coach Clark Laidlaw is clearly expecting a physical encounter as his side looks to stay unbeaten. Du’Plessis Kirifi and Devan Flanders have both been named on the bench while TJ Perenara will take the No.9 jersey from injured Cam Roigard.

HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua, Tyrel Lomax, Caleb Delany, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Brad Shields (c), Peter Lakai, Brayden Iose, TJ Perenara, Brett Cameron, Kini Naholo, Jordie Barrett, Billy Proctor, Josh Moorby, Ruben Love

RESERVES: James O’Reilly, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Pasilio Tosi, Justin Sangster, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Devan Flanders, Richard Judd, Peter Umaga-Jensen

CHIEFS (1-15): Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Reuben O’Neill, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Tupou Vaa’i, Samipeni Finau, Luke Jacobson (c), Wallace Sititi, Cortez Ratima, Damian McKenzie, Etene Nanai Seturo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Daniel Rona, Emoni Narawa, Shaun Stevenson

RESERVES: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, George Dyer, Jimmy Tupou, Kaylum Boshier, Xavier Roe, Josh Ioane, Rameka Poihipi

Referee: James Doleman

Assistant Referees: Jono Bredin, Fraser Hannon

Rebels vs Highlanders, 7.35pm

Kevin Foote has welcomed back Wallabies Josh Kemeny and Andrew Kellaway for Saturday’s big clash against the Highlanders as the Rebels look to make it three-on-the-trot.

After wins against the Waratahs and Drua, the Rebels can take one giant step to securing a maiden finals berth if they get past the eighth-placed Highlanders in Melbourne.

Foote has made a few changes to his pack, with Tuaina Taii Tualima to partner Lukhan Salakaia-Loto in the second-row after Josh Canham was ruled out.

Josh Kemeny is back for the Rebels. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

It comes after Frank Lomani was banned for six weeks for his elbow on the second-rower, which saw the experienced Fijian halfback shown a red card.

There’s some good news in the backline though, with fullback Kellaway and winger Lachie Anderson returning from injury.

It’s particularly unfortunate for Glen Vaihu, who scored a double in their win over the Drua last week.
Taniela Tupou has once again been picked on the bench, with his match up against All Blacks prop Ethan de Groot one to watch in the second half.

Halfback Jack Maunder returns via the bench, while Proctor and Nick Jooste are the replacement backs.

The Highlanders are leaning into rookie talent with No.10 Ajay Faleafaga starting at flyhalf. gets his opportunity for the Highlanders in Saturday night’s match against the Rebels as he takes the No 10 jersey.

Hugo Plummer and Will Stodart are set to make their debuts off the bench.

REBELS (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Jordan Uelese, Sam Talakai (c), Tuaina Taii Tualima, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Josh Kemeny, Maciu Nabolakasi, Vaiolini Ekuasi, Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Darby Lancaster, David Feliuai, Filipo Daugunu, Lachie Anderson, Andrew Kellaway

RESERVES: Alex Mafi, Isaac Kailea, Taniela Tupou, Angelo Smith, Daniel Maiava, Jack Maunder, Matt Proctor, Nick Jooste

HIGHLANDERS (1-15):  Daniel Lienert-Brown, Henry Bell, Saula Ma’u, Oliver Haig, Pari Pari Parkinson, Sean Withy, Billy Harmon (c), Nikora Broughton, Folau Fakatava, Ajay Faleafaga, Jona Nareki, Sam Gilbert, Jonah Lowe, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

RESERVES: Ricky Jackson, Ethan de Groot, Rohan Wingham, Hugo Plummer, Will Stodart, James Arscott, Matt Whaanga, Connor Garden-Bachop.

Referee: Paul Williams

Assistant Referees: Dan Waenga, Mike Winter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.