St.George Queensland Reds head coach Richard Graham has made four changes to his starting side to take on the Hurricanes in their ANZAC Round clash at Suncorp Stadium this Sunday afternoon.
Injury has forced two of the changes, with Curtis Browning (knee) and Karmichael Hunt (adductor) ruled out of the match after suffering injuries against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend.
In the forwards, recent debutant Adam Korczyk will make his starting debut at blindside flanker, in place of the injured Browning. Korczyk made his debut against the Bulls in Pretoria two weeks ago and scored his first Super Rugby try against the Cheetahs last weekend.
The other three changes are in the backs, where the injury to Hunt has forced a reshuffle, with veteran utility Lachie Turner shifting from wing to fullback, Chris Feauai-Sautia going from outside centre to wing and Anthony Fainga’a brought back into the starting side at inside centre.
The bench features two potential debutants, with hooker Andrew Ready again named as a replacement, along with 2015 signing Lolo Fakaosilea.
“Injury has forced two changes to the starting side this week,” Graham said.
“Curtis (Browning) suffered a pretty ordinary knee injury early in the Cheetahs match. He is having exploratory surgery today to determine what the extent of the injury is.
“Karmichael (Hunt) is a victim of his own high standards. He has done a lot of work on the field in the past few weeks to improve all aspects of his game and as a consequence the load with games and travel was too much. He suffered a small adductor strain.
“Adam (Korczyk) will continue at blindside after a strong performance last week and Anthony (Fainga’a) returns to start at inside centre with the rest just positional changes. That provides us with the best amount of continuity and also rewards the group for their performances on tour.”
Graham said the side was thrilled to be back at Ballymore ahead of the ANZAC Round clash.
“It is fantastic to be back amongst familiar surroundings. It is always a boost to come back and see the rest of the staff and squad that didn’t tour. With the amount of time and effort that goes into the preparation it is only natural that everyone rides the highs and lows together,” he said.
“Taking five points out of the tour was a step forward but we understand that needs to be supported with more wins over the coming weeks. Even though we have had another run of injuries through this five game block, there has definitely been greater stability in selection and as a consequence improved preparation. That has been mirrored in improved performances.
“I was pleased with a number of aspects of the game last week. I thought our scrum was superb, I thought Will (Genia) and Nick (Frisby) managed where we played very well and I though Lachie (Turner) kicked exceptionally well for touch on penalty kicks. Add to that the overall team performance and the discipline to the way we wanted to play and I thought we deserved the win.
“This week has a lot going on in what is a short training week following the travel. This weekend is the ANZAC Day round and we want to support that the best we can. On top of that there will be time with their families and other events supporting Rugby. The players need to recover well whilst getting their physical and mental preparation right.”
The Reds and Hurricanes have met 18 times in Super Rugby, with the New Zealanders claiming 12 wins in that time. Matches played in Queensland are an even split, with four wins a piece.
“The Hurricanes have had a good season to date. Everyone knows how capable they are with the ball in hand but it is obvious they have worked hard on their defence and breakdown leading in to this season,” Graham said.
“Their scrum is also improved and they are one of the best at providing quality ball to their backline.
“The game at Suncorp this weekend should be a cracker. The weather conditions look great, it is a Sunday afternoon fixture, it is a celebration of Anzac Day and we’re playing the competition leaders. It doesn’t get much better for the players involved or the people supporting.”
Earlier this week QRU announced it is teaming up with the Australian Defence Force to commemorate ANZAC Day and the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC Gallipoli landings with a specially-designed Reds jersey. Ten of those jerseys will feature the names of former Queensland
Rugby representatives who served in the First World War.
The Reds match jerseys, featuring the Rising Sun emblem of the Australian Defence Force, will be auctioned following the game to raise money for the Mates4Mates charity.
The charity was nominated by Brisbane’s 7th Brigade and assists supports wounded, injured and ill current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and their families.
Before the game on Sunday a marching Australian Army Band, mounted horses of the 2nd /14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) historical troop and some serving 7th Brigade soldiers will parade down Caxton Street towards Suncorp Stadium with Reds members and fans who have served, or have had families who have served marching behind. Members of the St.George Foundation will also march, encouraging those fans in and around Caxton Street during the parade to ‘join the ANZAC march to the Stadium’.
There will also be traditional military displays inside and outside the stadium, including ASLAV’s & Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles, courtesy of our friends at the 7th Brigade.
The match kicks off at 4:05pm and we are asking fans to be in their seats at 3.40pm so they don’t miss the commemorative ceremonies.
There are plenty of reasons to bring the whole family along.
Reds team to play Hurricanes in ANZAC Round clash
1. James Slipper
2. James Hanson
3. Greg Holmes
4. Rob Simmons
5. James Horwill
6. Adam Korczyk (starting debut)
7. Liam Gill
8. Adam Thomson
9. Will Genia
10. Nick Frisby
11. James O’Connor
12. Anthony Fainga’a
13. Samu Kerevi
14. Chris Feauai-Sautia
15. Lachie Turner
16. Andrew Ready (potential debut)
17. Sef Faagase
18. Sam Talakai
19. Marco Kotze
20. Lolo Fakaosilea (potential debut)
21. Scott Gale
22. Campbell Magnay
23. Chris Kuridrani