Queensland Reds head coach Richard Graham has made one change to his match-day squad to take on the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium this Friday.
In the most consistent week-to-week lineup this season, the only change to last week’s side which defeated Melbourne sees wing Lachie Turner replaced by Chris Kuridrani due to concussion.
Graham said he was pleased to be able to name a fairly consistent lineup and he hoped the team would build on last week’s performance.
“It is nice to be able to reward the group for their performance last week and for the first time this season we have only lost one player to injury. That in itself is also a bonus as continuity of selection for the right reasons breeds confidence,” he said.
“We had a few first timers last week and they were all strong contributors. Jake (McIntyre) will have gained confidence from his ability to steer the team around, Karmichael (Hunt) will become more familiar in the front line and Sam Greene’s nerves will have settled with 10 minutes off the bench at the back end of the game.
“We need to prepare for this game with the same mental approach as we did the Rebels. We were urgent, abrasive and full of running. Anything short of that will negate the efforts of last week.
“Every week there are challenges in Super Rugby. This week the Sharks will be desperate to finish their tour with a win. They have copped a fair bit of criticism recently and we know all too well how that stings. There is a lot of quality in their squad and they will want to return to South Africa with some wind in their sails for the remaining few games.
“Over the past few seasons it has been the Sharks’ set piece that has given them some ascendancy. The forwards understand fully that it is their responsibility to dominate that area of the game. That will go a long way towards determining the outcome Friday night.”
Graham also said flyhalf Quade Cooper was not considered for selection, after it was determined he would benefit from another week of rest before returning from a fractured shoulder blade.
“Quade (Cooper) was pretty close to being available. His fracture has healed and he is training fully with the team, however we felt it was in his best interests to have another week of strength and contact work.”
The Reds and Sharks have met 19 times in Super Rugby, with the Reds winning 10 times. The two sides have played nine Super Rugby matches in Queensland, with six wins to the Reds.
The Reds play the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium this Friday at 7:40pm. Tickets are still available at www.redsrugby.com.au. The match will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
Earlier this week Queensland Rugby announced it will attempt to break the World Record for the World’s Largest Scrum this September. The current world record was set at Twickenham in September 2014, with a total of 1,008 people taking part. As part of the launch of the World’s Largest Scrum Record attempt, this Friday night the campaign’s official hashtag – #worldslargestscrum – will be printed on the field at Suncorp Stadium. To be invited to be a part of the mass participation event, fans can head to www.thescrum.net.au and make a tax-deductible donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children, with proceeds going towards the building of The SCRUM monument at Suncorp Stadium.
While Reds prop Ben Daley will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury, he continues to support various charities through his ‘Be Great, Do Good’ campaign. This week he is supporting Cancer Council. ‘Be Great, Do Good’ is an initiative by Daley, in which he will support a different charity every week through a unique headgear to raise awareness and funds for their cause. Click here for more information:http://bit.ly/1Enz3Ja.
Queensland Reds team to play Sharks at Suncorp Stadium
1. James Slipper (C)
2. James Hanson
3. Greg Holmes
4. Rob Simmons (VC)
5. James Horwill
6. Adam Thomson
7. Liam Gill
8. Jake Schatz
9. Will Genia
10. Jake McIntyre
11. Chris Kuridrani
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Karmichael Hunt
14. Chris Feauai-Sautia
15. James O’Connor
16. Andrew Ready
17. Pettowa Paraka
18. Sam Talakai
19. Ed O’Donoghue
20. Lolo Fakaosilea
21. Nick Frisby
22. Sam Greene
23. Ben Tapuai