Reds coach swings axe after poor Force defeat
THE new Izzy is part of a selection shake-up at the Queensland Reds where coach Nick Stiles has made it clear that substandard performances will not be tolerated.
Stiles has made three changes for Saturday night's big clash against the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium in response to last week's shabby 26-19 stumble against the Western Force.
Back to the reserves go 31-Test lock Kane Douglas, flanker Adam Korczyk and winger Chris Kuridrani.
In come 19-year-old Izaia Perese, the hard-running winger nicknamed Izzy, towering young lock Izack Rodda and Japanese Test flanker Hendrik Tui.
Stiles called the loss to the Force "atrocious" and he had to act at the selection table to give any teeth to that spray.
"None of us were happy with last week's performance. We addressed it and moved on and are looking forward to testing ourselves against a difficult opponent," Stiles said.
"We knew there would be setbacks along the way as this group continued its development.
"The setback isn't as important as how we respond to it.
"The changes to the starting team reflect the depth we have in the squad at the moment. Everyone has worked hard and deserves their opportunities.
"As coaches, we want guys challenging for starting spots every week. There are no guarantees when it comes to selection."
Perese is an exciting prospect.
While only 1.80m tall and 91kg, he plays far bigger than that with his fearless running into far larger defenders and his knack to drive through tackles.
He was taken on last year's Wallaby tour to Europe as a development player in a nod to his potential.
While he didn't play a game, Perese learnt plenty training beside the best in the country.
A standout for Queensland Country in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship, Stiles is hoping Perese can transfer his tackle-shredding runs to Super Rugby.
Douglas had a quiet game against the Force but was far from alone.
The 2.02m Rodda is highly rated by former All Black lock Brad Thorn, who coached him in the Queensland Under-20s last year.
Rodda has a natural aggression in his 119kg frame and the explosive qualities as a ball-runner to get over the advantage line.
Meeting a Crusaders pack bristling with All Blacks Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock and co is a huge step up for a kid who has only experienced Super Rugby for 29 minutes.
Tui was one of the Reds best last year. He is more of ball-running, line-breaking threat than Korczyk.
The Reds will play in pink socks to mark their Ladies Round initiative.