'Elite' Red Kerevi shifts inside for Bulls

Samu Kerevi (C) will don the No.12 jersey for Queensland's Super Rugby clash against the Bulls.
Samu Kerevi (C) will don the No.12 jersey for Queensland's Super Rugby clash against the Bulls.

Jono Lance has tipped Queensland Reds star Samu Kerevi to show off his "elite" ball-playing skills in his shift to inside centre for the Super Rugby meeting with the Bulls.

The Reds will take a big-bodied centre combination into Saturday night's Suncorp Stadium clash, with Chris Feauia-Sautia moving from the wing to Kerevi's usual outside-centre spot as part of a rejigged backline.

But it doesn't necessarily mean all the playmaking responsibilities will fall onto five-eighth Lance, who believes Kerevi - a regular at No.13 for the Wallabies and the Reds - has developed that part of his game.

"Samu's really worked on his ball-playing. His passing's been really elite at training; he's worked on his kicking game," Lance told reporters.

"I don't think we lose too much there ... (but) it's pretty handy to have two big bodies like those two running up hard in the middle."

Duncan Paia'aua has been dropped to the bench, while Filipo Daugunu - a former Fijian youth international soccer player who lit up the NRC last year - will make his run-on debut on the right wing.

The changes come in response to last week's 18-10 win over the Brumbies, in which the Reds failed to score a try despite creating numerous opportunities.

"We were close on a number of occasions but couldn't get the ball over the line through inadequate finishing," assistant coach Tony McGahan said.

"That's a big focus for us this week and Samu and Chris in there will be able to add to that."

Two-cap Wallaby Feauia-Sautia will play his 50th Super Rugby match, and it's been a long time coming.

He first played for the Reds in 2012 but his past few seasons have been hampered continually by injury problems.

However, these days, Feauai-Sautia is fit, firing and in favour with Reds mentor Brad Thorn, who had coached both him and Daugunu as Queensland Country won the NRC title.

"Fifty games for a team is an achievement any way you look at it, but he has had to overcome plenty of injuries to reach this point and everyone at the Reds is really proud of him," Thorn said.

No changes have been made to Queensland's forward pack, who monstered the Brumbies to set the platform for Thorn's first win as coach.

REDS:

Aidan Toua, Filipo Daugunu, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi, Eto Nabuli, Jono Lance, James Tuttle, Caleb Timu, Liam Wright, Adam Korczyk, Kane Douglas, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper (capt).

Res: Alex Mafi, JP Smith, Sef Fa'agase, Harry Hockings, Angus Scott-Young, Tate McDermott, Hamish Stewart, Duncan Paia'aua.

Australian Associated Press