Queensland Reds head coach Richard Graham has named his side to take on New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday, highlighted by the return of experienced campaigners James Horwill and Ben Tapuai to the starting lineup.
Graham has made just two changes to the starting lineup that lost to the Highlanders in Dunedin last week, with Horwill’s return shifting South African Marco Kotze to the reserves bench and Ben Tapuai returning from injury to replace Samu Kerevi who has not recovered from a cork suffered last week.
“James Horwill’s hand has mended well and it’s good to get him back. He has a lot of experience at this level which adds a good balance to the forward pack,” Graham said.
“Ben Tapuai is itching to be involved after a longer than expected pre-season as a result of his hamstring injury. He has spent the last few weeks with the team and is familiar with the way we want to play.”
Graham said his team had focussed on its own preparations all week, but could not look past the great history of rivalry between Queensland and New South Wales.
“We continue to drive change in our game and are progressing areas each week. The outcome of the game will be determined by the collective effort of the group, not the actions of an individual.
“The rivalry between the two states goes back over a 100 years. We cannot forget all those past players who have represented Queensland, only 1,300 in total. Before Super Rugby this fixture would have been the biggest game most of them played in during their Rugby careers and while today’s players have the opportunity to play a lot more games against many other teams we cannot forget the tradition of this game and those players who put Queensland Rugby on the map.
“It wasn’t until James Slipper and I talked after the recent Force match I truly understood how passionate, how devoted Queenslanders are to supporting their teams. After a less than average start against the Brumbies and a week of rain and wind – rusted on supporters, older folk, younger folk, parents with kids all turned out in their Reds kit to cheer the team to victory. Their commitment to be there and passion struck me that night as being something special, something Queensland.”
Queensland and New South Wales have met 23 times in Super Rugby history, with the Reds coming out victors in 13 occasions, along with nine losses and one draw. The rivalry extends well beyond that, with Queensland and New South Wales first meeting on a Rugby field in 1882.
This week Reds prop Ben Daley’s ‘Be Great, Do Good’ campaign features headgear in support of Women’s Legal Services Queensland – which provides free legal and welfare help to Queensland women and their children who experience domestic violence.
‘Be Great, Do Good’ is an initiative by Daley, in which he will support a different charity every week by wearing unique headgear to raise awareness and funds for their cause. Click here for more information.
The Reds take on New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday at 6:40pm (local). Tickets are available at www.redsrugby.com.au. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Channel 256 (HD) or 502.
St.George Queensland Reds side to play New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium
1. James Slipper
2. Saia Fainga’a
3. Sam Talakai
4. Dave McDuling
5. James Horwill
6. Adam Thomson
7. Liam Gill
8. Jake Schatz
9. Will Genia
10. James O’Connor
11. Chris Feauai-Sautia
12. Anthony Fainga’a
13. Ben Tapuai
14. Chris Kuridrani
15. Lachie Turner
16. James Hanson
17. Ben Daley
18. Sef Faagase
19. Marco Kotze
20. Curtis Browning
21. Nick Frisby
22. Sam Johnson
23. Campbell Magnay