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Simmons among Reds' Super Rugby changes

NZN 31/05/2017 Melissa Woods

The misery has continued for lock Rob Simmons with the veteran dumped from Queensland's Super Rugby starting side, less than 24 hours after missing Wallabies selection.

Simmons, after playing 60 Tests, was overlooked for the Australian squad in favour of Reds teammate Lukhan Tui. He's paid the price for his team's capitulation against the Western Force which ended their finals' hopes.

Coach Nick Stiles promised to give his youngsters more game time and delivered with 20-year-old Izack Rodda replacing Simmons in one of four changes to the starting side to take on the Blues in the first Super Rugby match to be played in Samoa.

Rodda impressed Stiles enough playing club rugby last weekend to earn the call-up for Friday's game against the bottom-placed New Zealand team.

"It was important on the back of our poor performance last week against the Force that we made changes," Stiles said.

"Izack Rodda and Lukhan Tui are two young locks, but they're both physical, abrasive players and I feel the attitude that Izack has shown is something we want to seep throughout the side."

The bulk of the changes have come in the forwards, with Stiles reworking the tight five.

Hooker Andrew Ready has replaced regular starter Stephen Moore, who has been rested, while tighthead prop Taniela Tupou will make his second start of the year, relegating Sam Talakai to the bench.

James Tuttle will wear the No.9 jumper, with regular halfback Nick Frisby also on the bench.

Ex-Brisbane NRL player Caleb Timu is in line to make his Super Rugby debut after being named on the bench, while lock Kane Douglas - also overlooked for the Test squad - returns to the match-day 23 for the first time since round eight.

"We challenged Kane to get back to his best and he's worked hard to get there and, for Caleb Timu to make his debut in Samoa, would be reward for his diligence over the last year to get back from injury and learn the game after joining us from the Broncos," Stiles said.

REDS:

Karmichael Hunt, Chris Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi (capt), Duncan Paia'aua, Eto Nabuli, Quade Cooper, James Tuttle, Scott Higginbotham, George Smith, Hendrik Tui, Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Andrew Ready, Sef Fa'agase.

Res: Alex Maf, Kirwan Sanday, Sam Talakai, Kane Douglas, Adam Korczyk, Caleb Timu, Nick Frisby, Jake McIntyre.

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