Preview: Queensland v New South Wales - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Preview: Queensland v New South Wales

Preview: Queensland v New South Wales

The Bob Templeton Cup is the prize, but bragging rights will be the year-long reward, as the Queensland Reds host the New South Wales Waratahs this Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.

Each team’s season lays precariously on the edge of oblivion with sole focus now on results in the Australian conference. With wins against the foreign teams a rarity, which Aussie team that makes the finals will be determined largely on when they face off in local derbies.


The Waratahs season is in free-fall after being embarrassed by the (previously) bottom of the table Kings. The Kings were at the end of a draining Australian tour in which both the Western Force and the Queensland Reds managed to run up close to a half century of points against them in their respective match-ups. The Waratahs, in comparison, were lucky to score a very lucky late consolation try last weekend as the Kings were in the midst of opening their champagne bottles in celebration of their dominant performance.

The Reds are on a winning streak having not been beaten for a couple of weeks. The young team managed to blunt the dangerous Kings attack in front of their passionate home crowd with Eto Nabuli, Karmichael Hunt and Izaia Perese mesmerising the visiting South Africans with eye-catching performances. It continues an impressive season at home where the Reds have beat all-comers from South Africa while putting the table topping Crusaders and Hurricanes under all sorts of pressure before succumbing to narrow losses.

Team News

It is panic stations in Tah-land as coach Gibson has made mass changes to the side outplayed by the Kings. The tight five, so clinically taken apart last weekend, are almost completely re-shuffled with Paddy Ryan, Tolu Latu and Will Skelton gone from the starting team with Sekope Kepu, Hugh Roach and Dean Mumm thrown to the fire. Kepu’s return from a vicious off the ball incident against the Hurricanes sees young Tom Robertson switched from tight head to loose head.

Further out the juggling continues with the rookie Jake Gordon, tipped by many (Waratah) fans to earn a Wallaby cap this year, dumped from the squad as Nick Phipps gets another turn to prove his worth. Matt Lucas, the little brother of former Queensland Reds star Ben, comes onto the bench.

The Reds are looking rock solid as their backline combination remains unchanged once again. While the Tahs see their Wallaby hooker depart, the Reds have the luxury of recalling the Wallaby captain to add some further mongrel up front. It is the only change to the starting team that was so impressive in their last outing.

The Reds bench is equally impressive with the luxury of bringing in Wallaby backrower Leroy Houston alongside Izack Rodda, seen by many as the next Brad Thorn. The Reds are also fortunate to be able to call on boom boy Hamish Stewart, who has been released by the Australian Under 20 squad, to provide his impact from the bench.

Players to Watch


Dave McDuling

Every Queensland fan will feel a pang of regret, mixed with a tinge of pride, when they see McDuling run out again at Suncorp Stadium this weekend. ‘Dools’ was coasting along in the messy rugby environment that is the Sydney Shute Shield until he was plucked out of obscurity to take up a much sort-after squad member role with the Queensland Reds.

Injury plagued his time at Ballymore but he grew as a player and wore the jersey with pride and captained the inaugural Brisbane City side in their legendary first NRC premiership back in 2014. After a couple of seasons in New Zealand and South Africa, McDuling has now found his way back to Sydney hoping to impart some of the wisdom and experience he gained from these true rugby powerhouses.

Israel Folau

Folau first caught the eye of the Australian sporting public when he starred at the Australian Under 15 league Championships where he was picked for Queensland after standing out for his school Marsden State High. Australian Schoolboys selection soon followed before he was plucked from his home state to prop up an expansion league side in Melbourne. His class remained and national and state selection soon followed.

Eventually Folau would make the switch to rugby and signed for the Waratahs with the usual contract stipulation of Wallaby selection to follow. When the inevitable happened, Folau was never more comfortable than when he was playing in front of his beloved Queensland crowd and he was brilliant on his test debut against the British and Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium.

His form has plateaued since but he still is the go to man for the Waratahs. So much so that coach Daryl Gibson has had his team carry a rope to training this last two weeks to give them all the experience of carrying something just like Folau does every weekend.


Sam Talakai

Talakai has been an unheralded workhorse and leader in this Queensland team as it looks to re-establish itself as the Australian rugby powerhouse. Like McDuling, Talakai received an opportunity of a lifetime when he got the invitation to move away from Sydney and take his game to a new level at Ballymore.

There’s no doubting that Talakai would have had a Wallaby jersey by now had he stayed in NSW, playing for Sydney University, but the fact he opted to move to Queensland to himself as a person and a rugby player is a hallmark of the man himself.

Lukhan Tui

It’s almost criminal to think that Lukhan Tui – this 200cm, 125kg machine of a man – did not actually play rugby until just a few years ago. With NSW development programs clearly failing, Tui made the wise move to move north and develop his game under the tutelage of one of the proudest of Queenslanders, Brad Thorn.

Such is the depth of the locking position in the Reds squad that Tui has had to share playing time between his fellow Queenslanders in Kane Douglas and Izack Rodda with Cardeyrn Neville struggling to get a look in.

What to Expect

Hopefully some of this:

And a little of this:

And then some of this:

Oh and this:


With the Waratahs looking for a try bonus point in this game, expect the Reds to win by 45.

  • dane

    journalism for the ages.

  • SuckerForRed

    Pay that Reg.

  • Gottsy

    I’ve got to be honest, I’ve never been so excited for a game between two teams so low on the ladder. The win for the reds is going to the sweetest victory in a long time!
    In all seriousness though, if ever Australian rugby needed a shot in the arm, it’s now, with this game. Fingers crossed both teams put on a show

    • Muzz

      Yeah it should be a pretty even game cause both teams are ordinary at the moment. I’m keen for it too

      • John Tynan

        Reds 1, Kings 1, Tarts 0. Your ordinariness is worse than our ordinariness

      • Gottsy

        The reds might be ordinary but the tahs are extraordinarily ordinary

  • John Tynan

    Very balanced and unbiased preview Reg, don’t know how you did it.

  • Bobas

    Where are the Waratahs even from? This is the problem with the current super rugby system. You have these nothing teams touring that fail to inspire fans to turn up.
    They know they aren’t a shot in hell so send over a understrangth team with their Nic(k) (2nd rate halfback last name) starting and his Mumm.

    • muffy

      They have had to send the second team as the A squad are all being fitted for Wallabies jerseys this weekend.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure gold!

  • muffy

    Now if only Phil Kearns could take a leaf out of your book Reg, I can’t stand his one eyed, clearly biased commentary.

    You are showing the way.

  • formerflanker

    Great rev up Reg. For the Tahs.
    (Well written but don’t tell anyone I said so).

  • AB

    Even as a die-hard waratahs fan I am hoping for a big reds win. I think it is more important for Aus. rugby that the Reds kick on this season – its too good a playing roster to languish at the bottom of the table. If it becomes the springboard for a strong reds finish to the season then I am happy to forgo a waratahs win. Apologies for the lack of hate!, its all about whats best for the Wallabies now after such a collectively dismal season by the Aus sides.

  • Funk

    “Conspiracy theory warning”
    So I read about how Mick Byrne doesn’t agree with Alan Jones about “Folau being overrated”, and where exactly did he make these comments…at his training session with the Warratahs this week, this article also goes on to say that Mario Ledesma also happens to be there at the Warratahs with Mick for some forwards/scrum training.
    It seems very convenient that the Wallabies skills and forwards/scrum coaches just happen to be at the Warratahs for some training, the week before what could be the season defining game for both the Tahs and also the Reds?
    Seems a little suspicious…admittedly I have no idea when this was first arranged but even if it was months ago it was still planned for the week before the old rivalry grudge match between the two.
    btw great write up Reg!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Well the ARU can’t afford to let the Tahs sink even further into obscurity. Their mishandling of the whole 4/5 teams is going to go further down the toilet when they go before a judge and say the highest or second highest team on the competition has to go.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Reg, great rev up. I have even Ironed my Reds top for Sat night.
    I have the war paint out and my favourite drinking pewter!
    Will be at the ground with my bells on. Any GAGR’s look for the 6’8″ freak at the Reds members bar before the game and that will be me!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      “ironed”! you bloody AJ
      Good luck mate

      • Brisneyland Local

        Have to put our best foot forward KRL. Besides some services have traditions (Army), other have bad habits (Navy, and that other horrible service that I refuse to name)!

        • McWarren

          Salvation Army?

        • Brisneyland Local

          No, Australian Regular Army!

    • Pearcewreck

      That’s a bit harsh BBL, you’re not THAT bad!!

      • Brisneyland Local

        That is only because you havnt met me in person yet! I fly my freak flag proudly!

  • astamax
  • lee enfield

    My prediction for the game; Australian Rugby to lose by plenty.

  • Jack Mallick

    Thanks for the article but don’t know what the bigger joke is, your writing style or that 2014 Reds membership video

    • RugbyReg

      let me know when you figure it out.

      • Jack Mallick

        The article was a good laugh, keep up the good work please

  • Fatflanker

    A balanced preview of this epic ‘battle of the shite coaches’.

  • Moose

    I saw Shipperley score that try in person. If you listen very carefully to the clip you can hear me screaming ‘what the fark did he do that for!’ just after McKibben kicked it away.

  • Chinese Dave

    Two bad teams.

  • Xaviera

    Ah – those rose tinted glasses, now available in blood red. Bloodied gold!

    • Brisneyland Local

      X, I am a NSWelshamn, born and bred! But I grew up !

NSW Waratahs

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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