Lance finally gets his chance
WEARING the No. 10 jersey at the Queensland Reds has become a direct duel between fit-again Jono Lance and teenager Hamish Stewart.
Lance was on Wednesday selected to start at fly half in the Reds' final trial against the Fiji Warriors at Ballymore on Thursday night.
It will be Lance's first chance to shine at his old club now he has mended a broken hand, sustained during his off-season stint with English club Worcester.
Lance, 27, is a composed, straight-up player with starchy defensive qualities and an improving mind to create opportunities for players around him.
Deceptive skills will never be his strong suit but his reliable qualities suit the Brad Thorn blueprint.
Stewart, 19, played the recent intra-squad trial, had some excellent moments in last weekend's Brisbane Global Rugby Tens and will get more time off the bench against the Fijians.
Aidan Toua has been slotted straight in at fullback and the strong pointer is that he will play there in the Super Rugby opener against the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne on Friday week.
Two upbeat seasons with the Brumbies (2016-17) have given him the credentials to step in for Karmichael Hunt, whose career remains in limbo.
The Reds have named a strong starting line-up which looks very much like a framework for their round one side but for one or two swinging positions that are up for grabs.
Hooker is one such position.
Bustling new hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa is the one face without Super Rugby experience in the starting side for the trial.
Prop JP Smith, the former Brumbies forward, flying Fijian winger Filipo Daugunu and utility Teti Tela are fresh faces on the bench.
"Everyone is looking forward to getting back to Ballymore for our final pre-season match," Reds coach Brad Thorn said.
"The team has had a couple of hit-outs now but Thursday's match is our first proper 15s clash so we'll be looking to get plenty out of it as we start our preparations for our opening match of the season.
"It's good to be able to welcome Jono and Aidan into the team for the first time. They've been training with us for a little bit now so are itching to get involved.
"We don't have many opportunities to play at Ballymore so it would be great to see a big crowd gather to watch us play the Fijian Warriors."
Former reds winger Chris Kuridrani will play in the centres for the Fiji Warriors.
Queensland Reds v Fiji Warriors, 7.00pm Qld time, Thursday at Ballymore
1. James Slipper - Bond University
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa - Sunnybank
3. Taniela Tupou - Brothers
4. Lukhan Tui - Souths
5. Kane Douglas - Norths
6. Caleb Timu - Souths
7. Adam Korczyk - University
8. Scott Higginbotham (c) - Wests
9. James Tuttle - GPS
10. Jono Lance - University
11. Izaia Perese - Easts
12. Duncan Paia'aua - Norths
13. Samu Kerevi - Souths
14. Chris Feauai-Sautia - Souths
15. Aidan Toua - Easts
16. Alex Mafi - Bond University
17. JP Smith - GPS
18. Sef Fa'agase - University
19. Harry Hockings - University
20. Angus Scott-Young - University
21. Moses Sorovi - University
22. Hamish Stewart - Bond University
23. Filipo Daugunu - Wests
26. Liam Wright - Easts
27. Tate McDermott - University
28. Teti Tela - Souths