Scott Malolua will start at halfback for the Reds against the Blues. Picture: AAP
Scott Malolua will start at halfback for the Reds against the Blues. Picture: AAP

Reds draft in rookie against Blues

REDS coach Brad Thorn has handed halfback Scott Malolua his first Super Rugby start against the Blues after breakout rookie Tate McDermott was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Malolua has been preferred to Moses Sorovi at No 9 as one of three changes to Thorn's starting XV.

Lock Izack Rodda returns from his Wallabies rest week as Lukhan Salakaia-Loto sits out in accordance with Rugby Australia's workload management policy.

And the rotation at hooker continues with Alex Mafi back in for Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

Moalolua gets his chance after impressing in a cameo appearance againstthe Jaguares last week.

McDermott limping off gave Malolua a solid 25 minutes and his sure pass was snapped to his supports with confidence.

"Scott made his Queensland debut off the bench last week and embraced the contest against a team filled with Test players," Thorn said.

"He deserves this opportunity."

Former Queensland Schoolboys halfback Mololua won a premiership with Souths at 19 in 2015.

Tate McDermoot is out with an ankle injury. Picture: Getty Images
Tate McDermoot is out with an ankle injury. Picture: Getty Images

Centre Sonny Bill Williams (knee) remains sidelined while winger Caleb Clarke is out with a calf injury.

Matt Duffie replaces Clarke, flanker Dalton Papalii returns to start while coach Leon MacDonald has opted for a new halves pairing in Augustine Pulu and Otere Black.

"It goes without saying that Sonny has done everything possible to get himself back in shape," MacDonald said.

"He was close but we are not taking any risks bringing him back until he is 100 per cent."

"There's a lot of healthy competition in this team, and we have always said that performance will dictate selection, and that has led to Augie and Otere getting their opportunities."

REDS (15-1): Bryce Hegarty, Jock Campbell, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi (c), Filipo Daugunu, Matt McGahan, Scott Malolua, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Angus Blyth, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, JP Smith. Reserves: Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Ruan Smith, Gav Luka, Harry Hockings, Adam Korczyk, Moses Sorovi, Duncan Paia'aua, Hamish Stewart

BLUES (15-1): Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, TJ Faiane, Ma'a Nonu, Tanielu Tele'a, Otere Black, Augustine Pulu, Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson (c), Dalton Papalii, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman. Reserves: Leni Apisai, Marcel Renata, Lua Li, Tom Robinson, Josh Goodhue, Jonathan Ruru, Harry Plummer, Levi Aumua

News Corp Australia

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