Reds rely on Horwill & Genia
Reds rely on Horwill & GeniaSHARE
Queensland Reds leaders James Horwill and Will Genia will return from injury in a major boost for Saturday's blockbuster Super Rugby preliminary qualifier against New Zealand's Crusaders in Christchurch.
The match will also see talented 22-year-old back row forward Jake Schatz celebrate his milestone 50th game for Queensland, becoming the fifth Reds player to reach the mark in 2013.
Schatz has been an integral member of the Reds success since debuting in 2010 against the Crusaders and will be hoping to cap off his milestone game with a victory, which would be Queensland's first in Christchurch since 1999.
The injection of captain Horwill and vice-captain Genia comes at a crucial moment going into the do-or-die encounter with Rod Davies (knee) and Mike Harris (hamstring) to miss the game through injury.
Centre Anthony Faingaa has continued to respond positively to his rehab for a hamstring strain but due to a lack of training preparation earlier in the week has been chosen to travel with the team as their 23rd man.
Their unavailability and the return of Genia results in four changes made to the starting backline – with Jono Lance coming in at inside centre and a new wing pairing of Dom Shipperley and Chris Feauai-Sautia.
"There is always going to be some damage at this time of the year and while it's disappointing to be without a few guys, we are getting the experience of James and Will back," Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said.
"Their influence can't be understated and you need world class players and strong leaders if you are going to win these games on the big stage.
"We have had to reshuffle our backline in some positions and the players coming in now have an opportunity to contribute in a positive way.
"They've all had plenty of experience this year in the roles we are asking of them and we've got every confidence in our entire 22-man squad to get the job done."
Prop James Slipper, who captained the Reds to a fifth straight victory over the Waratahs at the weekend, will pack down in a front row which includes loosehead Greg Holmes and hooker Saia Faingaa.
Horwill will partner Rob Simmons in the second row while Schatz, in his 50th game for Queensland, will combine with Liam Gill and Eddie Quirk in the back row.
Genia and mercurial playmaker Quade Cooper reunite in the playmaking position where they will be responsible for sparking a backline which boasts Lance and Ben Tapuai in the centres; Feauai-Sautia and Shipperley on the wings; and Lucas at fullback.
On the bench, McKenzie has again gone for a forward-heavy five-two split.
Covering the forwards is Albert Anae, Jono Owen , Ed O'Donoghue, Radike Samo and Beau Robinson while Nick Frisby and Luke Morahan will provide an impact for the backs.
Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Jono Lance, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Jono Owen, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Luke Morahan.
Date: Saturday, July 20
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 NSW/ACT time, 09.35 SA time, 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)