Reds cop another blow with Wallabies hopefuls to miss Highlanders clash


After losing Tate McDermott and Fraser McReight to suspensions, the Queensland Reds have copped another blow by losing Seru Uru for up to six weeks after surgery on his thumb.

Uru, who looks likely to feature in Joe Schmidt’s maiden Wallabies squad, looks set to be joined on the sidelines by outside Josh Flook (shoulder) too.

The Wallabies hopefuls suffered the injuries during the shock 17-14 stumble across the ditch to Moana Pasifika.

The injuries and suspensions, which Les Kiss described as “not ideal”, will stretch the Reds’ depth ahead of Friday important night’s clash against the Highlanders, which is the first of three straight matches against New Zealand opposition.

Seru Uru will miss up to six weeks with a thumb injury. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Kiss is likely to shift Jordan Petaia to outside centre to cover the loss of Flook, with Mac Grealy expected to return to the wing.

Up front, Angus Blyth, who made his return via the bench last week, could start for Uru while Cormac Daly is another expected to return to the squad.

Kiss could easily promote Junior Wallabies back-rower John Bryant to replace McReight, but another option would be to shift co-captain Liam Wright to his preferred position at openside flanker.

After giving Tom Lynagh the chance to breathe and recover over the past fortnight, Kiss is also expected to recall the recently turned 21-year-old at fly-half to the starting side.

He is set to form a new-look halves pairing alongside Kelani Thomas, with McDermott to miss three matches after being charged with striking.

Tom Lynagh is expected to start against the Highlanders after missing the loss to Moana Pasifika. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Despite the overhauled side, which comes off the back of three straight defeats, Kiss was far from downcast and was excited about the opportunity to test the side’s depth.

“The opportunity in this now is to give a little bit more exposure to players who were playing off the bench and other players in the program to step up too,” he said.

Asked whether his team was at a fork in the road point in their season, Kiss said the situation wasn’t quite as drastic as that.

“We had a massive surge at the beginning of the year,” he said.

“There was a great expectation that we put on ourselves, and we met that, now there’s a different expectation about how we respond to it. It’s a part of the journey.

“There’s one front-runner and that’s the Hurricanes, the other teams are within that striking distance down to the last three.

“It’ll be a tight challenge in that mid-table. This is just the reality. Seasons have their ups and downs.”

Queensland Reds head coach Les Kiss is remaining calm despite his side losing three straight matches. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

By losing to Moana Pasifika though, who had shipped 68 points to the Chiefs, 47 points to the Blues and 60 to the Brumbies over the previous three matches, the Reds once again dropped a match they should have won if they want to be seen as a title threat.

Less than a month earlier they similarly failed to show up against the Force and paid the price, as Simon Cron’s men registered their first win of the season by beating Kiss’ side.

The surprise defeats point to a consistency issue, which was a theme experienced under Brad Thorn.

But rather than head down a “cul-de-sac of doom”, Kiss said the defeats came after failing to exert pressure for long enough and wanted to look at specific, measurable errors as a reason for their defeats.

“The key errors just put away the opportunity to put on pressure on pressure,” he said.

“In both those games we had the opportunities to recover it and win it. We had two red cards on the weekend and against the Force we saw what happened away there.

“I think we grew into those games, but they’re still losses.

“We’re just careful not to go down cul-de-sacs of doom and you can’t recover from.

“We’re just trying to address the real critical things in front of us to make sure we get it right from player execution and skill focus, right through to make sure that we get our set-piece launches really positive and accurate, so we’re able to be more penetrative to give us a way to play our game.”

The Reds will name their squad to take on the Highlanders on Wednesday at 2pm AEST.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.