Veteran Kiwi prop's timely Reds debut after triple blow

Wed, Mar 6, 2024, 11:23 AM
Murray Wenzel - AAP
by Murray Wenzel - AAP
Queensland Reds coach Les Kiss and captain Liam Wright speak after their Round 2 loss to the Hurricanes.

Jeffery Toomaga-Allen expects some "pleasantries" when he reacquaints himself with the Chiefs as the Queensland Reds' new bench weapon.

The once-capped All Blacks prop hasn't played Super Rugby since leaving the Hurricanes for Europe in 2019.

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New Reds coach Les Kiss lured him back to the southern hemisphere, but a pre-season "knee grumble" meant he missed the first two rounds, including last weekend's golden-point loss to his old club.

The experienced front-rower is now in line for a timely Reds debut off the bench at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday against the unbeaten Chiefs.

"Historically, the Chiefs always like to throw in a bit of chat," the 33-year-old said.

"I've been away from Super for about five years, but hopefully there's some chat and banter, I like some back-and-forth, within reason."

Fellow Kiwi forward import Alex Hodgman (shoulder) and backline weapons Jordan Petaia and Hunter Paisami (concussion) will miss the clash with the unbeaten Chiefs.

A high shot on Petaia from Jordie Barrett resulted in the Highlanders player copping a three-week suspension.

The Chiefs beat the Reds 29-21 in a tight quarter-final last year, but Toomaga-Allen has seen enough of his new teammates to think they can match it at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

"Being on the other side of the fence now, you can just see how much they want it," he said.

"Over the years you could say teams have rolled over against Kiwi teams, but we're not that team.

"They bleed, bruise, fatigue like us - it's anyone's game.

"And going to dark places when you need to ... that's what I'm bringing to the team."

Kiss said the charismatic forward had "found his engine" after missing about 10 days of pre-season scrum and maul work.

"He's great technically and tactically, and every team's got to have different personalities," the coach said. 

"He brings his own style and it comes out. He's a crafty player, finds his little angles in defence to challenge."