Reds break out their Wallaby stars
Reds break out their Wallaby starsSHARE
Reds centre Anthony Faingaa will captain a 28-man trial side which boasts 11 Wallabies from 2012 in the Reds' hit-out against the Blues in Toowoomba on Saturday.
Headlined by mercurial playmaker Quade Cooper, the Reds starting backline is full of experience with Cooper linking with Ben Lucas in the playmaking roles; Faingaa and Ben Tapuai in the centres; Luke Morahan and Digby Ioane on the wings; and goal-kicking ace Mike Harris at fullback.
The Reds will start the match with Radike Samo, Eddie Quirk and rookie Nigel Ah Wong in the loose trio; Adam Wallace-Harrison and Blake Enever in the second-row; and James Hanson, Jono Owen and Albert Anae in the front-row.
There will also be plenty of additional impact at the disposal of Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie with 2012 Wallabies Saia Faingaa, Liam Gill and James Slipper to be injected into the match from the bench.
"Irrespective of if it's a trial game or a Super Rugby encounter, we have created a mentality here at the Reds that every time you pull on the jersey you want to walk off the field with the scoreboard in your favour. That's the approach we will be taking into Saturday night," McKenzie said.
"There is always a delicate balance in choosing a trial team and it's important we get our selections right. The inclusion of so many Wallabies is about being sure we are ready to play the Brumbies in Round One," he said.
McKenzie stressed the need for his first-choice combinations to find their feet quickly if they are to make a strong start to the season.
"We've only got two trials before our opening Super Rugby game and we need to get the most out of them. Our Wallabies will help us do this but there is talent across the board that we will want to see in action.
"Every year there is any number of young players that use these trial games to push their case for selection and by the end of the season become established household names.
"All our guys have been putting in a tremendous amount of hard work during the preseason and you can really sense their excitement to now go out and play. There is plenty to look forward to in Toowoomba on Saturday night," he said.
Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Anthony Faingaa (captain), 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Eddie Quirk, 6 Nigel Ah Wong, 5 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Jono Owen, 2 James Hanson, 1 Albert Anae.
Replacements (from): Curtis Browning, Jarrad Butler, Rod Davies, Saia Faingaa, Nick Frisby, Liam Gill, Greg Holmes, Jono Lance, Tom Murday, UJ Seuteni, James Slipper, Rex Tapuai, Aidan Toua.
Date: Saturday, February 2
Venue: Toowoomba Sports Ground, Toowoomba
Kick-off: 19.00 (09.00 GMT)
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)