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Reds Development XV victorious in opening Queensland Rugby Challenger Series fixture



The Queensland Reds Development XV have claimed the opening match of the Queensland Rugby Challenger Series, running out 57-24 winners against the President’s XV at Sunnybank Rugby Club.

Bond University winger Joey Fittock scored a hat-trick for the Reds side, while flyhalf Lawson Creighton was in top-form, laying on a number of tries in a polished performance.

Wests title winner Ben Navosailagi had a double for the President’s XV outfit, with the Reds scoring nine tries to four in a high-scoring affair.

Fittock opened the scoring for the Reds in the eighth-minute, the Bond University winger steaming onto a superb Floyd Aubrey long ball to score in the left-hand corner.

Aubrey had Queensland’s next in the 16th minute, the 19-year-old toeing a Creighton crossfield kick ahead and outpacing the chasing defence to plant the ball over the line. Creighton converted to open-up a 12-nil lead for his side.

Navosailagi was first to cross for the President’s XV, skipper Eli Pilz floating a cut-out ball to his winger who strolled across the line untouched. UQ’s Brad Twidale made no mistake with the conversion, cutting the deficit to 12-7 with 15-minutes remaining in the opening half.

A stunning runaway try to Ethan Dobbins saw the President’s XV side cross for their second five-pointer of the afternoon, before UQ flyer Kye Oates crossed out wide to open-up a 19-12 advantage for his side.

Mac Grealy fired back for Queensland’s third try on the stroke of half-time, the fullback winning the race to dive on a deft Creighton grubber in the in-goal. Creighton nailed the conversion to even the scores at 19-all at the break. 

Fittock had his second early in the second-half, Creighton sending his winger over with another outstanding crossfield kick.

A pair of rolling maul tries extended Queensland’s lead to 33-19 with half-an-hour to play, Sam Wallis and Matt Faessler the beneficiaries of the plays, with Creighton converting both scores.

Naivosalagi showed his pace for the President’s XV’s next try, as the winger sliced through the defence with raw speed to score his second in the 57th minute.

Premiership winning captain Connor Anderson crossed out-wide in the 65th minute for the Reds, Creighton putting him over with an inch-perfect cut-out ball. Tom Lynagh nailed the conversion from the sideline to put the score out to 43-24.

The Reds had their seventh soon after as Spencer Jeans went himself off the back of a scrum close to the line to bring up the half century. Lynagh again made no mistake with the conversion to extend the margin to 28 points inside the final five minutes.

Fittock finished in style to bookend the match with his third of try of the afternoon to see the Reds Development XV side run-out 57-24 winners.

The series heads to Easts Rugby Club for the second and final match next Saturday 15 October, with the fixture streamed live via the Queensland Reds Facebook page.

Queensland Reds Development XV 57

Tries: Joey Fittock 3, Floyd Aubrey, Mac Grealy, Sam Wallis, Matt Faessler, Connor Anderson, Spencer Jeans

Conversions: Lawson Creighton 4, Tom Lynagh 2

President’s XV 24

Tries: Ben Navosailagi 2, Ethan Dobbins, Kye Oates

Conversions: Brad Twidale 2

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby

Super Rugby

Family the motivator for Whitelock’s French move



The 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season will be Samuel Whitelock’s last with the Crusaders.


The veteran Crusader and All Black has taken up a two-year deal with Section Pau in the South of France, where he’ll link up with younger brother Luke Whitelock who joined the Top 14 club in 2019.


“Hannah, the kids and myself are going to head to France to play with my little brother Luke,” Whitelock said.


“I’ve had the privilege of playing with family for Canterbury, the Crusaders and the All Blacks at different stages and this opportunity was too good to pass up.”


Whitelock debuted for Canterbury in 2008 and the Crusaders in 2010. He is Crusader #142 and has currently played 176 games for the franchise – second only to Wyatt Crockett (203). He’s been a part of six championship campaigns and captained the side for several seasons.


“I want to say thank you to everyone for their support through the years, it’s been absolutely immense,” Whitelock said.


You’ve helped me grow, you’ve helped me develop as a player”, but most importantly as a person.”


There are few players in Crusaders history who have made a mark like Sam Whitelock. A mainstay for generations of fans, his presence on the field brought confidence to both the playing group and the fans.


The same could be said for his impact on the All Blacks, having earned many All Blacks caps as captain and respect across the globe as a rugby role model.


Scott Robertson, Crusaders Head Coach, said Whitelock was an “iconic rugby player” who had taught him a lot throughout his coaching career.


“He’s iconic because of his consistency in form at all levels, spanning three decades and being at the top of his game throughout that time,” Robertson said.


He said Whitelock’s game understanding and “his ability to win big moments in big games” set him apart.


“He has an innate ability to connect the group and know what needs to be said at the right time on and off the field.”


“He’s a great mate and a pleasure to coach.”


“If there’s one player who lives the Crusaders culture it’s him, through consistency, his daily habits and his leadership.”


Whitelock will join Pau after the Rugby World Cup.

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

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Super Rugby

Team Naming: Whitelock Back for Waratahs Game



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The Crusaders have named their side to face the Waratahs in Round 14 of Super Rugby Pacific ’23.


It’s the team’s last home game of the regular season before we get into finals. Kick off is Saturday at 4.35pm.


Codie Taylor takes up captaincy with Scott Barrett making the most of a rest week before some big showdowns. He’s joined in the front row by Kershawl Sykes-Martin and Tamaiti Williams.


Sam Whitelock returns this week, itching to take the field after a few weeks sidelined by injury. Both Codie Taylor and Scott Robertson spoke on Thursday morning about looking forward to having his leadership and wisdom back on the grass.


The dynamic duo of Mitch Drummond and Richie Mo’unga return at halfback and first five, their routine well-polished by now.


Look for some antics and acrobatics from Leicester Fainga’anuku and Dallas McLeod on the left and right wings, and a safe pair of hands at the rear with Fergus Burke as fullback.


Reuben O’Neill is set to make his Crusaders debut off the bench this week, the current Taranaki and former Chiefs player bolstering the front row stocks. He’s slotted in well with the team during trainings, Robertson saying he was “familiar to us” and helped relieve the burden on a front row depleted by injury. Brodie McAlister and Seb Calder make up the rest of the replacement front row.


The Crusaders go into this one second on the table, the Waratahs in sixth. There’s no discounting an Aussie side still within reach of a home quarter if the cards fall right for them. Expect a big contest.

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

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Super Rugby

Farewell to a legend



The Highlanders will use the last home game of the year against the Reds on Friday 26th May to farewell Aaron Smith – their most capped player ever. All things going to plan Smith should play his 184th game against the Reds.

Smith joined the club in 2011 at the behest of the then new Highlander’s coach, Jamie Joseph, having previously been in the Blues wider training group, the rest as they say is history.

Widely recognised as one of the best halfbacks in the game his performances over the years have left fans, fellow players and the media in awe of his consistency, energy, skill level and competitiveness.

However, all good things come to an end and on Friday 26th May at 7.05pm Smith will suit up in his Highlanders jersey and run out of the stadium tunnel to be greeted by a home crowd for the last time, from next year he is signed to play in the Japanese League.

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark appreciates it will be a significant moment in the club’s history.

“Aaron has given so much to the club and rugby public in this region. Saying good-bye is not a moment that many will be looking forward to, but he so richly deserves this one last opportunity to sign off an amazing Highlanders career in front of his home crowd.  No doubt It will be a very special occasion for Aaron, Teagan and his children Luka and Leo, we hope it will be a night to remember for all.”

Head Coach Clarke Dermody acknowledges it will be an extra special night for his All-Black halfback.

“He’s been leading our team around the park for the last decade or so and he epitomises everything that a professional player should be – always prepared, highly skilled, competitive, and passionate about his team. He deserves all the recognition he gets, and he has worked very hard for it. Knowing Aaron, he will treat it like any other week, go through his routines, preparing accurately and give it his best on the night. I know I won’t be alone in reflecting on his enormous contribution to rugby in our region as his last home game comes to an end.”

Fans will have another opportunity to watch the master in action when the Highlanders take on the Rebels this Saturday at 4.35pm.

Book your seat to witness history here 


Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby

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