The Queensland Reds continue to invest in developing elite talent with 31 players retained from this year’s program ahead of the 2022 season.
After claiming their first Super Rugby title in 10 years and consistently ranking as the best supported Super Rugby team in Australia this year with the biggest crowds and TV audiences, the club is focused on sustained success for Queensland Rugby in 2022 and beyond.
90% of the current 32-man squad has come through the Queensland pathway having been a part of Reds Academy programs, represented Queensland at either U18s or U20s level, played Queensland Premier Club Rugby or played for either Queensland Country or Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) or in the U19s (URC) competition.
20 of the 31 players retained from this season had already secured their future at Ballymore ahead of the 2022 Super Rugby season.
The remaining 11 players have all recently re-signed following the completion of the Trans-Tasman competition which included backrow duo Liam Wright and Angus Scott-Young, exciting backline prospects Mac Grealy, Kalani Thomas, Isaac Henry and Lawson Creighton, frontrow trio Dane Zander, Feao Fotuaika and Richie Asiata, plus Fijian pairing Seru Uru and Ilaisa Droaese.
The only player in the current 32-man squad who wasn’t a part of this year’s program is Tom Lynagh, son of former Queensland and Australian captain Michael, who will officially join the Reds at the start of next month’s pre-season having already signed with Queensland through 2023.
Reds' strike weapon - winger Suliasi Vunivalu
Reds General Manager – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “We are entering an extended period of stability as a club.
“Next year our squad will include up to ten 50-plus game players - overall they will have achieved more than 1100 collective Reds caps with 97% having only ever played professional rugby for Queensland. We believe this level of cohesion will place us in a strong position for improved performance.
“This is a credit to our players and staff who have created an environment that is improving both individual and team performance, but most importantly it’s an enjoyable program to be part of.
“We'll be finalising the list in the coming months. Standout performances in the QPR Finals will be important to consider, but we also have a couple of foreign positions available, so we are assessing overseas options, particularly in the frontrow.”
The Reds would also like to acknowledge and thank three players who are set to farewell Queensland to pursue new opportunities and further their Rugby careers elsewhere in Australia or overseas.
Following his national duties with the Wallabies Brandon Paenga-Amosa will link-up with French club Montpellier, utility back Bryce Hegarty has signed with English Premiership side Leicester, while scrumhalf Moses Sorovi will join the Melbourne Rebels next season.
“We were disappointed not to be able to retain Bryce, Moses and Brandon. The COVID environment has presented a number of challenges in retaining our players,” added Cordingley.
“We respect that these men have had to make decisions on their futures. All three have been outstanding contributors to Queensland Rugby – we’ll certainly maintain contact with them over the next few years.”
Following the conclusion of the Queensland Premier Rugby season, further Queensland pathway signings will be announced to complete the Reds 2022 squad as part of the QRU’s ongoing strategy to identify and develop elite Rugby talent in Queensland.
Queensland Reds Squad
(in alphabetical order)
Richie Asiata – Easts
Angus Blyth – Bond University
Jock Campbell – University of Queensland
Lawson Creighton – Brothers
Filipo Daugunu – Wests
Ilaisa Droasese – Wests
Josh Flook – Brothers
Feao Fotuaika – Sunnybank
Mac Grealy – University of Queensland
Isaac Henry – Wests
Harry Hoopert – Brothers
Tom Lynagh – TBC
Alex Mafi – Bond University
Tate McDermott – University of Queensland
Fraser McReight – Brothers
Josh Nasser – University of Queensland
Zane Nonggorr – Bond University
James O'Connor – Brothers
Hunter Paisami – Wests
Jordan Petaia – Wests
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths
Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
Ryan Smith – Brothers
Hamish Stewart – Brothers
Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland
Tuaina Taii Tualima - GPS
Taniela Tupou – Brothers
Seru Uru – Easts
Suliasi Vunivalu – Wests
Harry Wilson – Brothers
Liam Wright – Easts
Dane Zander – Norths