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Thorn benches Stewart for NSW derby

Five-eighth Hamish Stewart has been benched for Queensland's clash with the Waratahs at the SCG on Saturday, with former Tah Bryce Hegarty to pull the strings.

Thorn benches Stewart for NSW derby

Five-eighth Hamish Stewart has been benched for Queensland's clash with the Waratahs at the SCG on Saturday, with former Tah Bryce Hegarty to pull the strings.

After playing "second fiddle" in NSW, Bryce Hegarty has been handed the lead role as the new Queensland five-eighth prepares to face his former side.

The Brisbane native played 62 Super Rugby games between Melbourne and the Waratahs before returning to Ballymore in a swap with Karmichael Hunt this season.


And the 26-year-old has made the most of the move, with coach Brad Thorn shifting him from fullback to No.10 while benching Hamish Stewart for Saturday's clash at the SCG.

Hegarty will pull the strings as the Reds aim to snap a staggering nine-game losing streak against the Waratahs and notch their first win after two tight losses to begin the season.

"He was probably playing second fiddle to Israel Folau and (Bernard) Foley down at the Waratahs," Reds assistant coach Peter Ryan said.

"He's realised it's a younger group he's working with, he needs to be a voice and he's taken that on board."

Stewart, 21, became a regular starter in Thorn's first year as coach in 2018, with his brave efforts in defence and big boot his major attributes.

The writing may've been on the wall when Hegarty spent a majority of last Saturday's loss to the Crusaders as first receiver, with Isaac Lucas also leap-frogging Stewart to earn his first start at fullback.

Duncan Paia'aua comes in for the injured Jordan Petaia in the centres while JP Smith and Scott Higginbotham have both earned starts after making late impacts off the bench last weekend against the Crusaders.

Lucas, the youngest of four rugby-playing brothers, has earned his promotion after impressive cameos off the bench so far this season.

"When he gets the ball in his hands he's electric and has the ability to create something out of nothing," Ryan said.

The Waratahs have also reshuffled their backline, with Kurtley Beale reverting to fullback and Folau sent to the wing to form a menacing attacking threat.

"No matter what code or sport, Queensland v NSW are always good games," Thorn said.

"It's a historic rivalry and I know our men will wear the maroon jersey with pride."

Reds: Isaac Lucas, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi (capt), Duncan Paia'aua, Sefa Naivalu, Bryce Hegarty, Moses Sorovi, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Harry Hockings, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, JP Smith. Res: Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert, Ruan Smith, Caleb Timu, Angus Scott-Young, Tate McDermott, Hamish Stewart, Jack Hardy.

AAP


AAP




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