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Queensland Reds announce squad for tour of Japan



The Queensland Reds have confirmed their 27-man touring squad ahead of next month’s inaugural Queensland-Saitama Shield match against the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan.

Following the completion of the Queensland Rugby Challenger Series, seven players from outside of the Reds program – Connor Anderson, Phransis Sula-Siaosi, Jake Upfield, Sam Wallis, Joey Fittock, Ben Navosailagi and Louis Werchon – have been selected to tour and potentially earn a Queensland cap.

After captaining the Reds Development XV, Angus Blyth will lead the side against the reigning League One premiers, while Wallabies duo Harry Wilson and Suliasi Vunivalu will also travel to face the Robbie Deans coached outfit.

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said: “The Challenger Series was a great success.

“We got to see Queensland’s best club talent back playing rep footy. There needs to be more of it in the future.

“Congratulations to the men who will tour Japan. It’s a special opportunity to earn a cap for their state.  

“Seven club players will travel with us, we’re excited to reward them and see what they bring. I’d like to acknowledge Ethan Dobbins and Paddy James, who would have toured if not for injury.

“We’re pleased to have Harry and Suli back. Harry won the Pilecki Medal as our best player this season and Suli is a proven match-winner – he brings x-factor. They’ll be great for our team.”

Reds General Manager of Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “We’re looking forward to travelling to Japan to play our partner the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights.

“After the Challenger Series, it’s another valuable opportunity for our group to develop as a team on the field, something that has been lacking in recent years.

“It’s a unique chance for a number of club players to represent Queensland on tour.

“The StoreLocal Hospital Challenge Cup is our greatest talent provider, and we feel a great connection to the competition, so it’s pleasing to see these players get an opportunity.

“We would like to thank the Australia Japan Foundation and Trade and Investment Queensland for their significant support of this tour.”

18 players with Super Rugby experience have been named to tour, including Richie Asiata, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Isaac Henry and Vunivalu who have recently returned from Australia A duties in Japan.

The tour will also feature a warm-up clash against Japan’s third-best team, the Kubota Spears Funabashi Tokyo Bay, before Queensland face the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights on Friday 4 November at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium.

Thanks to the support of the Australia Japan Foundation and Trade and Investment Queensland, the Wild Knights will travel to Queensland in 2023 to play the corresponding fixture for the Saitama-Queensland Shield.

The Saitama Prefecture, located in the Greater Tokyo Area, shares a sister state relationship with Queensland, with the Reds last touring the country to face a Saitama XV in 1991. The match featured the likes of Tim Horan, Jason Little, John Eales and Paul Carozza, while the Wild Knights’ General Manager Hitoshi Iijima also played.

 Queensland Reds Japan Tour

Queensland Reds v Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights – Friday November 4th, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama

Queensland Reds Japan Tour Squad


  • Connor Anderson – Wests

  • Richie Asiata – Easts
 George Blake – Bond University
 Wilson Blyth – Bond University

  • Angus Blyth – Bond University
 Sef Fa’agase – University of Queensland

  • Matt Faessler – Brothers

  • Zane Nonggorr – Bond University
 Ryan Smith – Brothers

  • Phransis Sula-Siaosi – Souths

  • Jake Upfield – Bond University

  • Seru Uru – Wests

  • Sam Wallis – University of Queensland
 Harry Wilson – Brothers

  • Dane Zander – University of Queensland


  • Floyd Aubrey – GPS
 Lawson Creighton – Brothers
 Joey Fittock – Bond University
 Josh Flook – Brothers

  • Mac Grealy – University of Queensland

  • Isaac Henry – Wests

  • Spencer Jeans – Bond University
 Tom Lynagh – University of Queensland

  • Ben Navosailagi – Wests

  • Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland

  • Suliasi Vunivalu – Wests

  • Louis Werchon – Brothers

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby

Super Rugby

Brad Shields named 2024 Hurricanes Captain



Brad Shields named 2024 Hurricanes Captain

Experienced loose-forward and Hurricanes centurion Brad Shields has today been confirmed as captain of the Hurricanes ahead of their 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

He will be supported by Asafo Aumua and Jordie Barrett, who have been named as vice-captains for 2024.

Shields, who played 103 games for the Hurricanes between 2012 and 2018, before heading offshore to pursue a test career with England, signed with the Hurricanes last year, eyeing a return for this season.

He takes over the reins from 2023 captain Ardie Savea who departed for Japan this season.

The captain’s tag is a title the 32-year-old is not unfamiliar with, having led the Hurricanes in their 31-all draw against the British and Irish Lions in 2017, and then taking on the role for the entire 2018 season.

Shields said he is honoured to be given the captain’s armband for 2024, but it is a role he will lean on many of his experienced teammates for support.

“I’m hugely excited and honoured to be leading the Hurricanes this season,” said Shields.

“I admit, after Clarky (Clark Laidlaw) told me I was really stoked, but I did feel a little apprehensive given I had been away for a few years and the quality of leadership we have at the Hurricanes. But at the end of the day, it’s a massive challenge and opportunity I’m excited for, and what makes it more exciting is there is a handful of guys here with so much experience who I know I will turn to for support. We’ll all work together with this one.”

Hurricane #184 said he intends to lead by his actions this season which he hopes will bring out the best out of a young Hurricanes team, and Hurricanes fans.

“Actions. Always by actions is how I like to lead,” said Shields.

“I really want to challenge our environment because challenge always brings better performances. We’ve got a really young team this season so anywhere I can help and encourage and bring the best out of some of the young guys, and the players who have been here for a while, is what I aim for.

“The one thing that’s massive for us at the Hurricanes is connection within our community. Ultimately, we’ve got to play good rugby and perform really well if we want bums on seats, but it certainly means a lot to know we’ve got our community behind us, and we’ll do everything we can to give them a good service and make 2024 an exciting and enjoyable season to watch.”

Having an abundance of experienced leaders in this Hurricanes side didn’t make the captaincy decision an easy one for Hurricanes Head Coach Clark Laidlaw.

However, Laidlaw said he and the other coaches were impressed with Shields’ attitude the moment he stepped back into camp and became an obvious choice as the right man to lead the side.

“The coaches and I do a lot of observing around leadership of the team, and it became reasonably apparent that we have several players that want to lead which is really exciting,” said Laidlaw.  

“But with Brad, he leads really well every day. He’s a great role model around how we want to train; he’s competitive as hell; he’s won Super Rugby; he’s a test match player; he’s bigger and stronger than he’s been before; and he knows what it takes to win and to lead. So, at the end of the day, he became an obvious choice.

“One of the best things about Brad is that he wants to be better. That’s an important trait to have as a leader as it rubs off on everyone else. We as coaches want our captain to represent what we want the team to look like. And we felt with Brad’s experience and his maturity, he’s the right man to lead us forward for this season.”

Laidlaw also echoed Shields’ comments on looking to his teammates for support this season.

“Brad will lead the side, but we do have a number of other players with Asafo and Jordie, who are going to be vice-captains of the team, and our leadership group will support Brad and help the coaches this season.”


Content & Images from – Hurricanes Rugby

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Super Rugby

Waratahs Squad announced for 2024 Super Rugby Season



The NSW Waratahs confirmed its initial 34-player squad for the 2024 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season with a couple more spots to be decided in pre-season.

Props: Angus Bell, Archer Holtz, Daniel Botha, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Hayden Thompson-Stringer, Tom Lambert, Tom Ross

Hookers: Dave Porecki, Mahe Vaianu, Theo Fourie

Locks: Hugh Sinclair, Jed Holloway, Miles Amatosero, Ned Hanigan

Loose forwards: Charlie Gamble, Fergus Lee-Warner, Lachlan Swinton, Langi Gleeson, Ned Slack-Smith

Halfbacks: Jack Grant, Jake Gordon, Teddy Wilson

Flyhalves: Jack Bowen, Tane Edmed, Will Harrison

Centres: Izaia Perese, Joey Walton, Lalakai Foketi, Mosese Tuipulotu

Outside backs: Dylan Pietsch, Harry Wilson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen, Vuate Karawalevu

New signings and re-signings

For all new signings and re-signing, you can follow our 2024 Waratahs Contract tracker.

Content & Images from – Waratahs Rugby

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Super Rugby

Highlanders 2024 Squad Announcement




The Highlanders will usher into the fold a swag of new players for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific competition.

Some have already made brief appearances last season such as halfback Nathan Hastie, loose forward Oliver Haig, hooker Jack Taylor and midfielders Jake Te Hiwi and Matt Whaanga. Several players have come through the John Jones Steel Highlander’s High Performance Programme such as first-five, Ajay Faleafaga, and loose forward Hayden Michaels.

Also new to the team, and adding depth to the outside back stocks, are the arrival of blockbusting winger and former Moana Pasifika star, Timoci Tavatavanawai, and Blues’ speedster Jacob Ratumaituvuki-Kneepkens. Argentinian winger, Martín Bogado, fresh from the 2023 World Cup, will return to further his Super Rugby experience in New Zealand.

Another former Blues player will add strength to the midfield in the form of Tanielu Tele’a who will be looking to get his career back on track after being hampered by injury in recent seasons.

Former Welsh international, Rhys Patchell, will bring his vital experience to the first-five role which will be good news for young pivots Cameron Millar and Ajay Faleafaga.

All Black, Ethan De Groot, will be joined in the forward pack by veteran loose forward and former Crusader Tom Sanders.

Highlanders’ Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, is looking forward to the preseason and the opportunity to work with his players.

“We have had a few changes in our squad and our coaching group so it will be great to get everyone together and start building some cohesion through the preseason. We will just about have our whole squad together from day one, which is a nice opportunity for us.”

“I am also pleased to see some of the younger players that we have invested in over the last few years start to come through to Super Rugby level. I am sure their individual enthusiasm will be infectious for the squad. 

The team assembles on Thursday 23 November 2023.



Backs:  James Arscott (Otago), Connor Garden-Bachop (Wellington), Martín Bogado (Argentina), Folau Fakatava (Hawkes Bay), Ajay Faleafaga (Otago), Sam Gilbert (Otago), Nathan Hastie (Otago), Jacob Ratumaituvuki-Kneepkens (Taranaki), Jonah Lowe (Hawkes Bay), Cameron Millar (Otago), Jona Nareki (Otago), Rhys Patchell (Wales), Jake Te Hiwi (Otago), Timoci Tavatavanawai (Tasman), Tanielu Tele’a (Auckland), Josh Timu (Otago), Matt Whaanga (Southland)

Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley (Otago), Henry Bell (Otago), Nikora Broughton (Bay of Plenty), Daniel Lienert-Brown (Canterbury), Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), Ethan De Groot (Southland), Oliver Haig (Otago), Billy Harmon (Canterbury) , Max Hicks (Tasman), Fabian Holland (Otago), Luca Inch (Tasman), Ricky Jackson (Otago), Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Saula Ma’u (Otago), Hayden Michaels (Southland), Pari Pari Parkinson (Tasman), Hugh Renton (Tasman), Tom Sanders (Otago) , Jack Taylor (Southland), Will Tucker (Otago), Sean Withy (Otago)




Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby

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