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Karmichael Hunt

Karmichael Hunt

Reds utility backline player Karmichael Hunt will not be selected for Friday’s Super Rugby match against the Highlanders as he awaits a court appearance to answer charges of supplying cocaine.

The 28-year-old, a potential Wallaby bolter for the World Cup, was stood down by the Reds last week after it emerged he was 1 of 4 people given notice by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission to appear in court on 5 March.

Hunt missed the Reds’ win over Western Force over the weekend and will continue to stay on the sidelines pending his hearing, the Reds said in a statement.

“Following extensive consultation with Karmichael over the weekend, we have determined that it continues to be best for Karmichael’s welfare that he is not available for selection this Friday,” he said.

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Cyclone Marcia in Brisbane

Cyclone Marcia in Brisbane

Cyclone Marcia could force only the 2nd abandoned match in Super Rugby history, with the Round 2 clash between the Reds and Western Force in major doubt as heavy wind and torrential rain batters Brisbane.

Should the match be abandoned, the game will be deemed a draw, with both the Reds and Force to collect 2 competition points each.

Officials from SANZAR, the ARU and both teams were locked in deep discussion on Friday, planning possible contingencies if the category 3 storm continues to cause havoc in the city.

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Karmichael Hunt

Karmichael Hunt

The Reds have not determined a course of action for Karmichael Hunt’s cocaine allegations, but they have decided to withdraw him from Saturday’s match against the Force.

The Queensland Rugby Union released a statement on their website regarding the reports of Hunt being arrested for supplying cocaine along with 2 NRL players.

The QRU clarified what they called ‘misinformation’ regarding Hunt’s arrest, as well as the timing of the incident in relation to the players contract with the Union.

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James O'Connor

James O’Connor

Reds head coach Richard Graham has named his side to take on the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday, with 4 personnel changes to the side which lost to the Brumbies in the opening Round.

2 Of the changes are to the starting side, with former All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson and Wallabies utility James O’Connor named to make their Reds debut.

Thomson will start at blindside flanker, with Curtis Browning shifting to the bench. O’Connor has been named starting flyhalf, with Karmichael Hunt returning to fullback.

On the bench, former Australian Schoolboys and Under 20 representative Tom Murday replaces Ed O’Donoghue at lock. Murday was part of the Reds Wider Training Squad in 2013 before heading to New Zealand to join ITM Cup side Northland. He was a member of the Blues Extended Player Squad last year before returning home to train with the Reds. Should he take the field this weekend it will be his Super Rugby debut.

The other change to the replacements sees utility Sam Johnson come in for Duncan Paia’aua, who has been ruled out following a head knock in last week’s match. Johnson, a bruising centre for Brisbane club GPS, made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds last season and is a member of the club’s Elite Development Squad.

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Jamie-Jerry Taulagi

Jamie-Jerry Taulagi

The Reds paid a dear price for their heavy (3 / 47) loss to the Brumbies in a Super Rugby Round 1 match in Canberra at the weekend.

They will be without fullback Jamie-Jerry Taulagi and flyhalf Duncan Paia’aua for this week’s encounter the high-riding Western Force in Brisbane.

Taulagi suffered a Grade 2 MCL strain and will be sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks.

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James Horwill

James Horwill

The Duty Judicial Officer has determined that no further sanction will be imposed upon James Horwill of the Reds after he was issued a red card during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Horwill was issued a yellow card on two separate occasions for infringements at the breakdown, and at the maul. These occurred in the 48th and 75th minutes in the match between the Brumbies and the Reds at GIO Stadium in Canberra on 13 February 2015, and he was shown a red card on the second occasion.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC assessed the case and recorded the following:

“While no further sanction has been imposed, this is a warning to players and teams that the judiciary regards team warnings as a responsibility for all players to heed.

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RedsReds head coach Richard Graham has named his side for its opening Round of Super Rugby against the Brumbies in Canberra this Friday.

The match-day squad features Lachie Turner returning from injury to play his first game in 2015 and scrumhalf Will Genia playing his 100th Super Rugby game, after already earning his 100th cap for Queensland in 2014.

7 Players stand to make their Super Rugby debut for Queensland.

On debut in the starting lineup are prop Sam Talakai, lock Marco Kotze and flyhalf Karmichael Hunt, along with prop Sef Faagase, flanker Adam Korczyk, flyhalf Duncan Paia’aua and winger Campbell Magnay on the bench.

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Richard Graham

Richard Graham

Reds coach Richard Graham believes their more ‘free spirited’ approach to the game will suit skilful players like Karmichael Hunt and James O’Connor.

While Graham looks set to start with Hunt at flyhalf in the season-opener against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday, the Wallaby utility back, O’Connor, is likely to appear at first receiver very often.

Speaking at a media briefing ahead of their trip to the Australia capital, the Reds mentor made no secret of his admiration for two players, as well as the skill sets the code-hopper and disgraced Wallaby can bring to the team.

“I though Karmichael did really well,” Graham said, adding: “I was really pleased with his performance – he was very clear in his communication and decisive and that got us on the front foot.”

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RedsThe Reds have named their team to play the Crusaders at Ballymore in what will be their final Super Rugby pre-season clash.

As revealed yesterday Reds recent recruit Karmichael Hunt will start at flyhalf in the match as the Queensland side look at ways of filling the gap created by Quade Cooper’s injury.

Reds head coach Richard Graham has announced a 23-man squad for the fixture, with a further three players to be added. In all Graham has made three changes to the starting team from last week’s match.

Hunt’s move to starting flyhalf has shifted 20-year-old Duncan Paia’aua to the reserves bench, Chris Feauai-Sautia has been brought into a starting wing spot and Jamie-Jerry Taulagi has moved to starting fullback.

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Dan Carter

Dan Carter

Dan Carter will start the Crusaders’ last warm-up match ahead of potentially his final Super Rugby season against the Reds on Friday at flyhalf with team-mate Colin Slade switching to fullback.

The 32-year-old Carter, who will join French side Racing Metro at the conclusion of this year’s World Cup, had played mostly at inside centre last year when he returned to the Crusaders from a sabbatical to accommodate Slade’s good form.

The fact he will play in his preferred flyhalf position suggests he will get the nod from coach Todd Blackadder to start there for the Crusaders’ opening game against the Melbourne Rebels on 13 February in Christchurch.

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Conrad Smith

Conrad Smith

Will Genia

Will Genia

Reports from France seem to suggest that Wallaby Will Genia will finally make his much anticipated move to France along with the latest in the All Black post-World Cup exodus, Conrad Smith.

Genia, who for a peroid was heavily linked with English Premiership side Bath, now looks more likely to join Parisian side Stade Fancais on a 3-year deal.

It seems that Genia’s deal with Bath eventually fell through due to the Premiership’s salary cap restrictions and the English club’s existing deal with Rugby League convert Sam Burgess.

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Greg Holmes

Greg Holmes

Reds prop Greg Holmes will be sidelined for up to 9 weeks, after tearing a ligament in his left thumb while lifting in a lineout drill earlier this week.

Holmes was recovering from a shoulder injury suffered during the National Rugby Championship and was expected to make his return in the Reds pre-season match against the Crusaders, but instead had surgery to repair the ligament on Friday.

Reds head coach Richard Graham was disappointed to lose a veteran of 121 games, but said it would provide some of Queensland’s young props an opportunity to further develop.

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Melbourne RebelsThe Rebels have named a 28 man travelling squad for this Saturday’s pre-season trial against the Reds in Cairns with a possible 7 debutants.

The Rebels take on the Reds at Barlow Park in Cairns in what will be the first opportunity for both Australian teams to see what they are working with.

The Reds will be looking to test out the likes of new recruit and Wallaby James O’Connor as well as the their 2 League converts in Karmichael Hunt and Duncan Paia’aua.

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Duncan Paia'aua

Duncan Paia’aua

Injured Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper has backed rookie Duncan Paia’aua to fill in as his replacement over the few first few months of the new season.

Cooper is set to miss the first 3 months of Super Rugby after fracturing his collarbone in a “freak accident” during a training match against the Reds’ Under 20 side.

And although former Wallabies flyhalf James O’Connor is in the Brisbane-based franchise’s squad, 20-year-old Paia’aua is the favourite to take over from Cooper.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper will be sidelined for 10 to 12 weeks after suffering a fractured collar bone during a training session at Ballymore Stadium on Thursday.

The 26-year-old playmaker, who was out for 16 weeks in 2014 due to an AC joint injury, will have surgery on Tuesday to repair the fracture, which occurred around the previous operation site.

Cooper’s AC joint injury occurred against the Rebels in May last year when he fell awkwardly on his left shoulder in a tackle.

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RedsQueensland Rugby Union today announced prop James Slipper will captain the Reds for the 2015 Super Rugby season.

He will be supported in the role by two new vice-captains in Reds and Wallabies lock Rob Simmons and recent signing Karmichael Hunt.

Slipper takes over the role with the blessing of incumbent captain James Horwill, who after a number of discussions agreed the best long-term outcome for the future success of the Reds was to step down and allow the growth of the leadership within the team.

In 2014, Slipper was recognised by his Queensland teammates as the Pilecki Medal winner for Players’ Player of the Year and also claimed the Rugby Union Players’ Association Medal for Excellence – which is voted on by all Super Rugby players.

He was also vice-captain of the Wallabies throughout the 2014 Test season and said he was honoured to be given the title of Reds skipper.

“I’m incredibly humbled by this decision. I take great pride in playing for Queensland, so to be named captain is a great honour,” Slipper said.

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Karmichael Hunt

Karmichael Hunt

‘Football chameleon’ and new Reds recruit Karmichael Hunt has his sights firmly set on making the Wallabies World Cup squad.

Having started his career as a Rugby League player with the Brisbane Broncos, Hunt switched to playing Australian Rules in the Australian Football League for the Gold Coast Suns in 2011.

He signed for the Reds in the off-season and is expected to make his Super Rugby debut at fullback in the Round 1 clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.

He has made no secret of his World Cup ambitions, although he knows that he will have to prove himself at Super Rugby level first.

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Super RugbyWith Super Rugby fast approaching it is important to have a look at what each of the teams are doing in their preparations and who they have at their disposal.

As the teams prepare for this brusing competition there is the oppourtunity to test out combanations as well as see how the new boys go.

The Sharks will travel to French champions Toloun to test out their game plan against the Galacticos of rugby while the Bulls will take on the Cheetahs in a traditional pre-season match in Polokwane.

The Australasian sides will also warm up against each other with the Highlanders setting up a comprehensive pre-season schedule due to the first round bye.

The ‘transfer market’ has made the upcoming Super Rugby season an exciting prospect with some big names in James O’Connor and Nick Cummins returning to Australia.

Menawhile, the Bulls have bolstered their squad with some excellent former Cheetahs players.

Finally, and unsurprizingly, Ma’a Nonu has made another move – this time back to the Hurricanes.

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James O'Connor

James O’Connor

Former Wallabies backline star James O’Connor is returning to Australian rugby after year-long exile in Europe, saying he has matured and is ready to resume his 44-Test career.

O’Connor was released from his Australian Rugby Union contract after a series of off-field incidents and forced to continue his career in Europe when shunned by local Super Rugby teams.

Now 24, O’Connor says he has grown up and is determined to leave behind his bad boy image.

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Liam Messam - the boxer

Liam Messam – the boxer

Fiery All Black loose forward Liam Messam will return to the growing ranks of Rugby Union players dabbling in boxing as a pre-season pastime.

Messam, known for his abrasive approach to the game, will be on the undercard when superstars Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper headline the action at the inaugural Footy Show Fight Night in Sydney next month.

Rugby League star Paul Gallen and rising Australian boxer Willis Meehan will also feature in the 31 January event.

Messam’s last entry into the square ring was a points defeat to Gallen in December last year, after he had also beaten Wendell Sailor in 2011.

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James Horwill

James Horwill

Queensland Rugby has announced James Horwill has signed a three-year contract with English Premiership giant Harlequins.

Horwill will make the move to the famous London club following the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which concludes in October next year.

He is currently the most-capped Queensland captain, having led the Reds on 69 occasions.

A modern-day champion of the Reds who led Queensland to the 2011 Super Rugby title, Horwill will make the 2015 Super Rugby season his 10th and his last and is determined to achieve success when he pulls on the Reds jersey for the final time next year.

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Super RugbyTwenty-three newly contracted Australian rugby players have gathered in Sydney for the 12 annual RUPA Induction Camp at St Andrew’s College.

In attendance are players across all five Australian Super Rugby teams and the National Sevens who have been offered their first full time or Extended Playing Squad (EPS) contract for 2015.

Last year the Camp involved players including Will Skelton, Alofa Alofa, Jack Debreczeni, Curtis Browning, Samu Kerevi and Adam Coleman.

In 2014, the camp includes five players from the Brumbies, four from the Waratahs, Rebels and Force, three from the Reds and, for the first time, three members of the women’s National Sevens squad.

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Super Rugby

Some news titbits from all over, in preparation for the 2015 Super Rugby season.

  • Willie Brits, the popular lion-looking Xerox Lion, has made his move back to the Toyota Cheetahs for 2015.
  • Ben Afeaki, Chiefs prop, who has ongoing concussion problems will have to decide his future and consider possible retirement.
  • The Force will celebrate its 10th Super Rugby season by returning one of the club’s favourite sons, Tai McIsaac, to its coaching staff for the next three years.
  • South African-born lock Marco Kotze has become the 11th Queensland-based National Rugby Championship player to be contracted by the Reds.

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Campbell Magnay

Campbell Magnay

The Queensland Reds have signed 17-year-old centre Campbell Magnay, the youngest player in the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship.

Magnay joins the Reds on a three-year deal, after impressing in his appearances for Bond University Queensland Country throughout the NRC.

He is the ninth Queensland NRC player to be offered some level of contract with the Reds program.

The former St. Joseph’s Nudgee College student represented both the Queensland and Australian Schoolboys sides last year and was playing Premier Colts for Brisbane club side GPS when offered an opportunity with Queensland Country.

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Quade Cooper

Quade Cooper

Injured Queensland Reds and Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper sat down with Chris Garry last week to discuss a dramatic year for his code and club.

Cooper reveals how he helped lure the brightest talent in world rugby, Taniela “Tongan Thor” Tupou, from the clutches of the All Blacks to the Reds, why Queensland should have hit the player market hard following their Super Rugby triumph in 2011, when he will return from injury … and predicts Karmichael Hunt will make the Wallabies’ World Cup squad.

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Taniela Tupou

Taniela Tupou’s decision to snub the All Blacks has attracted derision in New Zealand.

The Reds is set to sign barnstorming teenage sensation Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou.

The Reds are understood to be close to finalising a deal for the New Zealand-based 18-year-old who has been chased by four countries and two rival Australian franchises.

If the signing comes off, it will be a massive boost for Australian rugby and cap an impressive fortnight for the Reds, who announced two weeks ago that they have recruited James O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt for next year.

Tupou revealed earlier this week that he would reject offers from the NZRU to defect to Australia, where his older brother lives and plans to guide his career.

The NZRU held last-minute meetings with Tupou in a bid to change his mind but he has not wavered.

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James O'Connor

James O’Connor: The worst of the three Amigos.

Drew Mitchell doesn’t mind admitting he didn’t jump for joy when told James O’Connor would be joining him in the south of France.

When O’Connor signed on for Toulon in February, the former Wallaby wing thought only of the brash youngster he’d known in Australian rugby, and the poor form and controversy behind his exit.

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James O'Connor

Runaway success: James O’Connor scores a try for Toulon on the weekend.

The short-term future of James O’Connor and his return to Australia is assured, but doubts remain about his long-term plans after the World Cup in Britain next year.

Queensland are expecting O’Connor, who has 44 Test caps with the Wallabies, to remain in Brisbane after announcing last Friday that the back had signed a two-year deal with them – starting next season.

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James O'Connor

James O’Connor: The worst of the three Amigos.

Yes, I know that James O’Connor has been a prat.

An official at the ARU who had to deal with him all the time told me that O’Connor was the worst of the Three Amigos – O’Connor, Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper.

He would encourage and lead his mates into trouble and then, somehow, slide away unscathed, while the other two copped the blame and the punishments.

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James Slipper

James Slipper

Wallabies vice-captain James Slipper has underlined his standing as the most influential prop in Australian rugby by dominating the awards at the Queensland Reds’ gala ball.

Slipper became the first front-rower to win the coveted Pilecki Medal for a second time on Friday night while also taking out the People’s Choice award and the Spirit of the Reds award.

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James O' Connor

James O’ Connor

James O’Connor’s willingness to shelve any special contract demands is the first sign that a new maturity at the Queensland Reds will replace his old spoiled kid persona.

There were reservations initially at Queensland Rugby Union board level that a player with O’Connor’s rap sheet of poor discipline was a bad fit for the Reds.

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Karmichael Hunt

Biarritz’s centre Karmichael Hunt runs to score during the European H-Cup rugby union final match Biarritz vs. Toulouse.

The Queensland Reds will on Friday night unveil James O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt as their blue-chip recruits for 2015.

Rugby’s worst-kept secrets will be revealed together at the Reds’ Gala Ball at the Brisbane Convention Centre, but diehard fans will be hoping for more.

Although O’Connor and Hunt, neither of whom will be in attendance, represent the franchise’s biggest recruitment announcement since Super Rugby kicked off in 1996, Queensland can’t fix the problems that plagued them this season with two outside backs.

Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau made national headlines when they defected from the NRL to AFL in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Folau finished a difficult, though lucrative, stint in the AFL in 2012 and is now one of rugby union’s top draw cards. Hunt, meanwhile, is poised to join him in the 15-man code with reports linking him to the Queensland Reds in 2015.

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