Reds v Waratah Preview #LoveWins - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Reds v Waratah Preview #LoveWins

Reds v Waratah Preview #LoveWins

In case you hadn’t noticed rugby in Australia is going through a pretty rough trot at the moment.  It makes it tough for even the most ardent of fans to stay positive.  I know personally I have too easily fallen into the ‘negative Nelly’ trap. And it is easy. It’s easy just to furrow the brow and just ‘bah humbug’ everything – hell, I’ve seen people criticising Rugby Australia signing a Test Match sponsor for the first time in about five years.

So I am going to make an effort to spin this around. When the other code is promoting ‘State v State, Hate v Hate’ and their players are literally  talking about killing each other, I’m flipping the nibble. Take me back to 1969 (quite possibly the last time Queensland beat NSW) and the Summer of Love, because this preview is nothing by good vibes dudes.


Both teams come into the game on the back of really encouraging losses to some tough New Zealand opposition. The Waratahs, after scoring a glorious victory the week before against the Highlanders, were so damn close to doing the same last week away from home against the Chiefs.

The Reds have also been trying really hard and managed to push the Hurricanes and then the Highlanders all the way over the last weeks getting to within a try of winning both games. It’s a really exciting time for Australian Rugby to see our teams playing some great rugby and pushing these wonderful New Zealand teams so hard.

With Queensland having won just one game in the last eight and NSW one in the last six, one of these lucky teams is going to enjoy some much sort-after post-game celebrations.

Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

Cuddles! (Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes)

Reds team

Big Brad Thorn has not been forced to make too many changes this week. The only alteration to the pack from last week is the return of the tough as nails (and former Waratah) Kane Douglas to the starting side in a straight swap with young Harry Hockings, who made his run on debut last week.  In the backline we do see some more significant variation with Hamish Stewart and Jono Lance swapping jerseys and the live-wire Moses Sorovi starting at scrumhalf.

Tahs Team

Waratah coach Daryl Gibson is obviously really happy with his team’s recent performances and has only made one change to last week’s outfit.  The free-running Jed Holloway starts at lock as he swaps spots with the rugged Tom Staniforth.  Holloway will likely look to range out wide to put pressure on the defensive channels that lie in and around Samu Kerevi.

Key Match Ups

Wallaby Match-Ups: One of the reasons this really is the ‘Festival of Love’ is because fans are going love watching some Wallaby match ups.  At tight-head prop the old bull Sekope Kepu will go toe-to-toe with the young bull Taniela Tupou. While Allan Alaalatoa has his own claim to the Wallaby #3 jersey, Kepu v Tupou’s clash could well decide who starts v the Paddies next week. Likewise further out, the incumbent Tevita Kuridrani will face significant pressure from the two in-form 13s in Curtis Rona and Samu Kerevi.

Halves:  On the one side we have two wonderful servants of Australian rugby and current Wallaby squad members in Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps.  On the other we have two of the bright sparks of the game, a paring Reds fans have been crossing their fingers in hope to see selected, in Moses Sorovi and Hamish Stewart. This will be Sorovi’s first start for the Reds after a series of exciting cameos from the bench and it couldn’t have been a more exhilarating game to be a part of.

Line Out: Waratah fans may have been doubtful when they first heard that the team had signed Rob Simmons in the off-season, but the way he has sured up their previously misfiring line-out has won them over. Meanwhile, Queenslanders upset over Simmo’s departure have been placated by the form of Izack Rodda. Not only has he been a physical menace across the park, but his lineout work has been revelatory. The battle between these two skyscrapers on Saturday night will be as much about personal pride as team success. Lovely.

Plenty of feeling was on display

Love wins!!


I predict a wonderful game of rugby played by two teams featuring some of the very best rugby players in Australia. Players who have a tremendous passion for the game and for their provincial team, but also for their friends on the other team. The game will be played with intensity and commitment, with plenty of superb skill to be showcased. There will be niggle and aggression but these brothers will walk off arm in arm after 80 minutes ready to take on those cocky Irish pricks at the same venue next week.

Match Details:


15 Jono Lance, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith. Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Liam Wright, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Jayden Ngamanu


15. Israel Folau, 14. Cameron Clark, 13. Curtis Rona, 12. Kurtley Beale, 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Nick Phipps, 8. Michael Wells, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 6. Will Miller, 5. Rob Simmons, 4. Jed Holloway, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Damien Fitzpatrick, 1. Tom Robertson. Replacements: 16. Tolu Latu, 17. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18. Shambeckler Vui, 19. Tom Staniforth, 20. Brad Wilkin, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Lalakai Foketi, 23. Bryce Hegarty

Date: Saturday, 2 June 2018

Venue: Suncorp Stadium Brisbane

Kick-off: 19:35 Brisbane time

Referee: Angus Gardner

Assistant referees: Will Houston, Jordan Way

TMO: Damien Mitchelmore

Forecast: Lovely



  • Hoss

    Ahhh Reg, it truly is the age of Aquarius……….

    Alot of contests to like all across the paddock – Tah’s by 9

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think it will be closer than that and whoever wins will win by less than 5.

      I think it will be a much better match than the previous one, both teams have shown a lot in recent weeks.

      Just hope for no injuries, eh?

      • Hoss

        Amen to that

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        As nasty as it sounds, if Foley was to ever get injured it would be better to happen now to allow a 10 named as a replacement than next week when a part time not very good non-10 replacement will be a catalyst for disaster.
        I’m not hoping he gets injured but would rather it this week than next.

        • McWarren

          That would be to assume a specialist would named in his place. I suspect it would just give Hodge a week to prepare.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That’s certainly a scary proposition that could occur. I’d hope not but with Cheika you never know

    • Adrian

      Agree Hoss.
      Bookies say 5.5, but I think it could be more.
      Interestingly, there will be both happy guys and disappointed guys playing.
      Will Latu, Fitzpatrick, Wells, Gordon and Naiyaravoro sulk or blitz the chosen people?
      What about Douglas, Perese and Stewart?

      Will BPA go easy to avoid injury?

      Will the other selected guys bludge or get subbed off early?

      It should be a top game between the (almost) Wallaby backs, and the (almost) Wallaby forwards

      • idiot savant

        Good points Adrian. I imagine the Tahs pack are really going to lift to prove themselves against the Reds wallabies. If they gain parity in set piece and win the breakdown (which I think they will), the Tahs backs have too much class and speed for the Reds.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Happy Sat morning Hoss. Well I dont know about the age of Love, Peace and Mung Beans! Always preferred the Age of Beer, wine and naughty pleasures!
      The forwards battle will be interesting. 10 battle will be god too. Stewart can actually kick, but is unknown under pressure. But with Lucas back at 15 where he belongs, this is finally a Reds team structured the way it should have been. Doesnt mean it will fire straight off. But if those piggies give the 9/10 room to move, and Kerevi gets some good runs at speed, this could be interesting.
      Hoping for a Reds win. But I am tipping a draw!

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Nice write up Reg. BUT! Who will win?
    I think the Reds will have the intensity they missed in Sydney and with BT breathing fire down their necks will have enough to take a close game. Reds by 6

    • RugbyReg

      Love will win.

      And Rugby.

      And Rugby lovers.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hahahahaha Yes it will mate. Looking forward to this one

      • Brisneyland Local

        RR, you are becoming a politician!

  • Brendan Hume

    Good move shifting Lance – a S15 title winner at fullback – to 15. He needs to step up in attack and take the heat off Stewart when necessary and look for opportunities. The Reds attack has been pretty one-dimensional.

    Should be a great battle in the forwards with a few Gold jerseys potentially being swayed by these performances.

    Higgers hasn’t really performed this season – I’d have Timu at 8 and put Higgers on the bench covering 6/8.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    Really looking forward to this one. Tahs have been looking really competitive the last few weeks against the Kiwis, but if the Reds turned up like they did last week, it could be game on. I’m backing the Tahs to win by 4.

    Great write up as always mate

  • Ross

    The forecast for Saturday night. *sigh* Icing on the cake. Bravo that man!

  • Reinforce

    That made me feel good – thank you

  • formerflanker

    A brilliantly written article. You have captured the essence of rugby in general and these two teams in particular. GAGR should be paying you more, Reg.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Yeah nearly. I don’t want any player to get injured but if it’s during the first game against the Irish you won’t have a specialist backup. If it happens this week at least you can bring in a specialist

  • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

    Sorovi and Steward finally get picked in the halves. A no brainer decision that everyone except BT50 saw as obvious many weeks ago. The Reds already have the forward pack firing, and now they have a halves combo that can unlock the backs. I’m picking the Reds for a win on this one.

    • Brumby Runner

      Aus rugby will be winner if Sorovi/Stewart prove to be able to handle their roles.

  • McWarren

    Thanks Reg. For no other reason than doing the opposite to Hoss, Reds by 9.

    I’m a little excited about this game. I asked Izzy to have a word with the big man re no injuries for either team.

  • idiot savant

    Thanks for letting the sunshine in Reg. Yes the match ups add a bit of spice – I particularly like Kerevi and Rona who might be playing off for the 13 jersey. I expect Rona to shut down Kerevi. The Reds halves will be under huge pressure in their first start together against the veteran pair Pholey. Particularly against two open sides. I expect Hoops and Miller to shoot at the young Reds and force errors. I also expect the Tahllabys to be keeping an eye out for Higgers who wont be giving any of Cheik’s mates favours if they stray into his path. Simmo will likely disrupt the Reds line out seeing he taught Rodda how to call. But the scrum battle will be a delight. The tight heads will lock their sides. Which loose head will screw backwards?

    Peace might guide the planets after the game Reg, but for 80 minutes Jupiter will not be aligning with Mars. Gonna be great to watch. If the Tahs stick to their game plan they will win easily. Poor old BT doesn’t have a plan to combat quick ball movement and as his plan is to kick it to the opposition and defend, Im expecting Folau and Beale to carve the Reds up in counter attack.

    • Mica

      Robertson will be shown up……………again.
      Tupou will monster him and JP & BPA will hold Kepu.

      This will be a game of Reds forwards all over Tah forwards and Tah backs too much experience and guile for the Reds (though the Reds could surprise here). Stewart has the talent and attributes to get one over Foley here, but it may be a bit too early and experience will win out. If it comes down to a territory game, I know which 10 I would want though..

      Looking forward to the battle of the locks. I expect Rodda to shine here and Douglas has nothing to lose. Maybe big Rob Simmons will have a blinder with a point to prove to some of the skeptics (I’m looking for some dominant carries and some shoulders in ribs in defence Rob). I’m sure he has been reading the banter on the G & G comments section and has a point or two to prove!!!

      • Brumby Runner

        I will also look for those aspects in Simmons’ play Mica, but I don’t expect to be excited.

  • Mica

    Interesting bench split too. I think this pretty much sums up the philosophy of the coaches and shows how they hope to play the game on Saturday night.

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

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