Reds coach Richard Graham has named a team with two changes to the side that lost to the Force for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Brumbies in Brisbane on Friday.
Chris Feauai-Sautia returns on the wing for his first start since injuring his hamstring in Johannesburg three weeks ago, replacing Jamie-Jerry Taulagi who moves to the replacements bench, while Anthony Fainga’a will start at inside centre in place of Mike Harris.
Harris complained of Achilles tendon soreness following last weekend’s match and may be named on the Reds’ reserves bench later in the week.
If Harris is not deemed fit for this weekend’s match, David McDuling will be named on the bench in what could mark his Reds debut.
“Mike pulled up sore on Sunday morning with an Achilles problem. I have bracketed him on the bench but won’t know until Friday as to whether or not he’ll be available,” Graham said.
“We are fortunate to have Ant (Fainga’a) as a straight replacement. He brings a lot of experience to the midfield having been with the Reds since 2009 and capped 23 times for the Wallabies.
“Chris (Feauai-Sautia) has worked hard during the past four weeks and looks in really good shape. His explosive running will be an asset for us.”
Also on the bench, Saia Fainga’a returns to the 23 after a shoulder injury ruled him out of the last two games. Should he make the field, this will be Saia’s 100th Super Rugby appearance.
“Saia has done everything required of him during the week and will be a good addition to the game when required. He will potentially play his 100th game of Super Rugby of which 73 are for the Reds.
“The chance to share it with his brother will mean a lot to the both of them.”
The Reds and Brumbies will contest the Macqueen Cup this weekend and with Queensland having won the first clash between the two earlier this year, a win on Friday would secure the trophy.
“This is an important match for the team. The Brumbies are a fierce rival and as another team in the Australian conference the points on offer ultimately influence the standings,” Graham said.
“The Macqueen Cup is also on offer and after a win in Round 1, we have one hand on the trophy.”
“We currently sit two points outside the Top 6 going into a bye. A strong performance on Friday night and a positive result will mean a lot to the squad.
“We have lost two of our last three matches by three points, so controlling the back end of the game will be important. It is something we have been working on and the playing group are well aware of what steps we need to take.”
1. James Slipper , 2. James Hanson , 3. Greg Holmes , 4. Rob Simmons , 5. James Horwill (C) , 6. Eddie Quirk , 7. Beau Robinson , 8. Jake Schatz , 9. Will Genia (VC) , 10. Quade Cooper , 11. Chris Feauai-Sautia , 12. Anthony Fainga’a , 13. Ben Tapuai , 14. Rod Davies , 15. Ben Lucas
Replacements : 16. Saia Fainga’a (100th Super Rugby game) , 17. Albert Anae , 18. Jono Owen , 19. Ed O’Donoghue , 20. Curtis Browning , 21. Nick Frisby , 22. Mike Harris/Dave McDuling (debut) , 23. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi