Hanson reaches his half-ton
Thu, 30 May 2013 08:31
This depth really allows us the opportunity to use various combinations
Hooker James Hanson will celebrate his milestone 50th game for the Reds when they host the Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Hanson has been capped in 48 of the Reds' past 49 matches since the beginning of the 2011 Super Rugby season, with his efforts also recognised on a national level when he debuted for the Wallabies against the All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium last year.
"It's a huge honour to reach the milestone and to have played a part in the team's success over the past few seasons has been incredible," Hanson said.
Hanson is one of five changes made to the Reds' starting line-up for their final Super Rugby regular season fixture before the June Test window.
Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie has re-shaped his loose trio for Saturday's clash with Eddie Quirk and Beau Robinson coming in at blindside and openside flank respectively.
Injuries to Chris Feauai-Sautia (hamstring) and Jono Lance (neck) will see Ben Tapuai come in at outside centre and playmaker Ben Lucas wear the No.15 jersey for the first time this year.
Following 13 consecutive starts to commence the season, Quirk was used as a late-game closer on the bench against the Stormers at the weekend but has been promoted once again alongside Robinson, who has successfully recovered from an early season ankle injury to have featured in the Reds past four matches.
"We're blessed here in Queensland with the amount of quality backrowers we have available to us and this depth really allows us the opportunity to use various combinations and implement different strategies relevant to our opposition," McKenzie said.
"Our players are also aware of the roles expected from them as either 'starters' or 'finishers' and ultimately the contributions of each, irrespective of when they are on the field, are equally as important as each other," he added.
McKenzie expressed confidence that Liam Gill and Radike Samo would add tremendous value off the bench.
"Liam has been an absolute standout for us this season and combined with Radike on the bench we feel they'll make a huge difference as impact players this week while also giving two form players in Eddie and Beau a chance."
The Reds have never lost to the Rebels in their five total Super Rugby matches, including two wins at Suncorp Stadium - 53-3 in 2011 and 11-6 in 2012 - and also a 23-13 victory at AAMI Park in Melbourne earlier this year.
Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Mike Harris.
Date: Saturday, June 1
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.40; 09.40 GMT
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)
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