Simmons gets his half-ton

Thu, 21 Feb 2013 08:43
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Reds lock Rob Simmons will play his milestone 50th game for Queensland in Saturday's Templeton Cup grudge match against the Waratahs.

Reds lock Rob Simmons will play his milestone 50th game for Queensland in Saturday's Templeton Cup grudge match against the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.

The Reds are expecting a bumper Suncorp Stadium crowd for their opening Super Rugby home game of the season with the match themed as the Reds Heritage Round as part of Queensland Rugby's 130th Anniversary celebrations in 2013.

It will be a special occasion for 23-year-old Sunnybank lock Rob Simmons as he celebrates a significant career achievement in reaching his milestone 50th game for Queensland in just his fifth season since debuting in 2009.

The Reds have made two changes to their starting line-up with Simmons to be joined in the second row by lock Ed O'Donoghue while youngster Chris Feauai-Sautia has earned an opportunity at outside centre.

Feauai-Sautia replaces Aidan Toua in the No.13 jersey with the Reds continuing to manage the workload of the young flyer who has now featured in three straight matches following an off-season rehabilitating his hamstring.

Fellow centre Anthony Faingaa has also been ruled out of Saturday's match by medical staff with Faingaa being given a further week to heal ligaments in his hand after he was unable to function at full capacity during training.

"Aidan spent nine months rehabbing his injury and after two trial games and last week's clash against the Brumbies we felt his body would benefit in the long-term from a short break," Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said.

"Anthony is obviously disappointed to miss the game as we all entered the week confident he was once again fit for selection.  But, after training on his injured hand in the early stages of the week, he was honest with us about where he thought he was at and we all agreed it would be best for him to be held out for a further week.

"Like any injury, all it does is provide an opportunity to the next man in line and this week it's Chris who gets his chance in the starting team.  Chris is a player rated highly by the coaching staff and his peers and already we've seen flashes of his potential, both last year and more recently from the bench against the Brumbies.

"Congratulations also to Rob Simmons on his 50th cap for Queensland.  He really is one of the unsung achievers of the group and at only 23 years old has an incredibly bright future ahead of him and will no doubt one day be a 100-game player for Queensland."

Simmons said it was an honour to reach the milestone for Queensland.

"Playing for the Reds isn't something I've ever taken for granted so to be in line to play 50 games for Queensland is something pretty special," Simmons said.

"For the milestone to come up at Suncorp Stadium against our biggest rival in the Waratahs only adds to the occasion and I know everyone is looking forward to getting back out in front of our home fans for the first time this year.

"We're hurting a bit after the Brumbies game but the great thing about Rugby is you only need to wait a week to get another chance and I personally can't wait for Saturday night."

Last time the Reds and Waratahs clashed was in the final regular season round of the 2012 Super Rugby competition where only a victory with a four-try bonus point would secure the Reds the Australian Conference and a place in back-to-back Finals Series.  The Reds did just that as they piled on five tries in a one-sided 32-16 affair.

The Reds have now won three straight matches against the Waratahs and a win on Saturday night would not only extend their recent dominance over NSW but would also strengthen their proud record at ‘fortress' Suncorp Stadium, where the Reds boast an impeccable record having won 21 of their past 24 games.

In Super Rugby history, the Reds and Waratahs have gone head-to-head on 19 occasions and it's the Queenslanders who have the advantage with 11 wins, seven losses and one draw.  In 10 total Super Rugby games played between the two sides in Queensland, the Reds have won six, lost three and drawn once.

Queensland Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 James Slipper (captain), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Jono Lance, 22 Luke Morahan.

Date: Saturday, February 23
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 18.40 (08.40 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
Lions v Bulls 51 | 14
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 18 | 16
Sunwolves v Sharks 17 | 38
Force v Highlanders 6 | 55
Hurricanes v Cheetahs 61 | 7
Fri, 19 May 2017
Leinster v Scarlets 15 | 27
Stormers v Blues 30 | 22
Chiefs v Crusaders 24 | 31
Sat, 13 May 2017
Jaguares v Force 6 | 16
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19