Young flyer Jack Hardy has travelled to South Africa with a 27-man Reds squad after an injury to winger Filipo Daugunu forced Queensland to rethink their touring plans.

A member of the junior Wallabies squad, Hardy was to head into camp with the national team on the Gold Coast this week ahead of the Oceania U20 titles.

He, Isaac Lucas, Fraser McReight and the uncapped Harry Wilson were all set to be left in Queensland for the camp, with the Reds coach Brad Thorn adding Aidan Toua, Teti Tela and Jock Campbell to his touring squad.

Thorn could have taken all his young guns, although they would have had to return after a week and while he decided to leave them behind, negotiations with junior Wallaby officials led to Hardy’s late retention.

Still, Thorn is a big supporter of the junior system and hopes the Queenslanders thrive ahead of selection for the under-20 World Cup.

“We want them to really stand out and represent us well in the green and gold,” he said.

 

“I’m sure the experience they’ve had at this level … will be a real benefit to what they’re trying to achieve (with the junior Wallabies).”

But with Jordan Petaia already out for the season and with a question mark still hanging over Chris Feauai-Sautia (hamstring), Hardy flew out with the Reds on Sunday.

Hardy made his starting debut for the Reds against the Stormers on Friday night and was unlucky not to score, with Reds teammates twice missing the unmarked winger on their outside as tries went begging.

Thorn said he was proud for his players to represent Australia but it presented challenges for the Reds, particularly as they struggled with injury.

“Guys get opportunities. If Chris (Feauai-)Sautia and Jordan Petaia and different guys were playing, Jack wouldn’t get a go, especially for 80 minutes,” Thorn said.

“We’ve got to back them because they work hard all pre-season.

“I don’t like the thing where guys work hard and they’re never considered. If they’ve worked hard and are in that squad, we have belief in guys and back them.

“I just like backing the guys. They’ll work hard and there’s a really good spirit in the crew, no one complains when they’re not in the 23 and you respect that.”

Feauai-Sautia and Angus Scott-Young, who missed the Stormers game with concussion, have also travelled to South Africa and will be considered for this weekend’s clash against the Bulls in Pretoria.

SQUAD

Reds travelling squad to face Bulls and Sharks

Forwards

Angus Blyth – Bond University

Scott Higginbotham – Wests

Harry Hockings – University of Queensland

Harry Hoopert – Brothers

Adam Korczyk – University of Queensland

Gav Luka – Bond University

Alex Mafi – Bond University

Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank

Izack Rodda – Easts

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – Souths

Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland

JP Smith – GPS

Ruan Smith – GPS

Taniela Tupou – Brothers

Liam Wright – Easts

Backs

Jock Campbell – University of Queensland

Jack Hardy – Easts

Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths

Bryce Hegarty – GPS

Samu Kerevi – Souths

Tate McDermott – University of Queensland

Sefa Naivalu – Norths

Dunacn Paia’aua – Norths

Moses Sorovi – Wests

Hamish Stewart – Bond University

Teti Tela – Souths

Aidan Toua – Brothers

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