REUTERS: Australia lock Kane Douglas will make his first start since last year’s World Cup final after being named to the Queensland Reds side for their Super Rugby match against the Waikato Chiefs on Friday.
Douglas was a mainstay of the Wallabies side on their run to the final in England last year but required surgery after suffering a knee injury during Australia’s defeat to New Zealand at Twickenham.
The 27-year-old was eligible to play for Australia at the tournament after cutting short his contract with Irish province Leinster and signing for the Reds.
He made his first appearance for the side last Friday, playing for just over 30 minutes in the second half of their 43-24 loss to the ACT Brumbies.
His return to the starting lineup means Australia under-20s lock Lukhan Tui has moved back to the bench.
Reds flyhalf Jake McIntyre has been ruled out for the clash in Brisbane with an ankle injury, with Duncan Paia’aua earning his first start.
Paia’aua replaced McIntyre last week and impressed interim co-coach Matt O’Connor with his performance.
“It’s disappointing to lose Jake for this match, but were confident in Duncan’s ability,” O’Connor said in a statement.
“He performed well when he came off the bench to cover for Jake in the second half last week and were all looking forward to seeing what he can produce against the Chiefs on Friday.
“The Chiefs are top of the New Zealand conference for a reason. We are well aware of the threats they pose. They are a fantastic footy team.”
The Chiefs head the Australasian group on 46 points, with the Reds long out of contention for the playoffs having won just three games this season.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)