Reds out to involve Wallaby early in crucial clash

Tate McDermott has pledged to bring Suliasi Vunivalu into action early in the Fijian winger's return for the Queensland Reds.

The Fiji-born winger will return to the Reds' starting line-up this week, with youngster Tim Ryan sitting on the bench to catch his breath after scoring six tries in his last three games.

The Reds, who sit in fifth place with three rounds to play, must beat Draw in Suva on Saturday to still have a chance of eliminating either the ACT Brumbies or Chiefs to claim a top-four spot and a home final.

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“He was probably struggling with a bit of confidence,” fullback McDermott said of the Wallabies' World Cup winger.

“He was playing great football for us and had good skills.

“There's nothing clear (explaining his lack of confidence) but what we can do is play him early in the game.

“We just need to find a way to get him into the game, and that's on us (the playmakers).

He added: “Being here in front of a crowd that is friendly to him, and getting that kind of level back will be big for us.”

The Reds won 41-17 in Fiji last year, the biggest win ever for a Drua team.

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Last 3 meetings

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The home team sits in eighth place (4-7) and has lost just once in Fiji all season, but is coming off a tough loss to the Western Force in Perth last week.

“It's a graveyard for traveling teams,” McDermott said.

“It's about finding that way to win.

“We have to be smart, make sure we do the little things well and the effort is there.”

The Reds also rested first baseman Matt Fessler, winger McGreeley and outside center Josh Fluke, with Floyd Oubre making his first start at Vunivalu's rival wing.


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