Reds turn to flyer Toua
Reds turn to flyer TouaSHARE
The Reds have named speedy Aidan Toua at fullback in a tactical change for their clash with the Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.
The match will be the second opportunity for Toua to impress in 2013 after he made a return from an offseason hamstring injury at outside centre against the Brumbies in Round One before being rested in last Saturday's victory over the Waratahs, and he replaces ace goal-kicker Mike Harris at fullback.
The return of cult figure Radike Samo offers the Reds another strike weapon from the bench as he replaces injured loose forward Jarrad Butler, who was unavailable for selection with an AC joint injury he sustained at the weekend.
Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said the Reds were targeting a more complete performance against the free-running Hurricanes.
"We are a team that prides itself on being adaptable and capable of changing our gameplan on a week-to-week basis and that is reflected in our team selections," McKenzie said.
"We have strong thoughts about how the game is going to be played and feel that Aidan really has something to offer in this match from fullback. We took a pre-emptive approach to his hamstring last week in resting him for the Waratahs and you can already sense the benefit it has had to his preparation for this game.
"However, before that Aidan had earned his place in the starting side against the Brumbies, so we're excited to bring him back at his preferred position for a match we feel will suit the style of game that is going to be played," he said.
McKenzie expressed his pleasure with the development of his new midfield partnership that did duty against the Waratahs last week.
"We're also happy with how our centre combination of Ben Tapuai and Chris Feauai-Sautia came together last week and we will again be expecting more from them against the Hurricanes.
"Having Radike [Samo] healthy once again is also pleasing. We all saw the impact he made with his involvements during the trials and we'll be looking for a repeat performance when he’s called upon on Friday night," he added.
Friday's match is an opportunity for the Reds to continue building on their impressive record at Suncorp Stadium which now stands at 22 wins from their past 25 games.
McKenzie said it would also be an opportunity for the Reds to make amends against one of Queensland's historic bogey sides with the Reds last winning against the Hurricanes in 2007, their only victory in their previous 10 Super Rugby matches against the Wellington-based side.
"The Hurricanes have a new lease on life under Mark Hammett and they showed last season just how dangerous they can be with the ball in hand," McKenzie said.
"For us, we've worked hard over the past few seasons in overcoming numerous hoodoos and creating a history of our own, so Friday night represents another opportunity for this group to step up and do what no Reds team has done since 2007."
The Reds field an unchanged forward-pack for Friday's match with James Slipper to lead the side and a front-row which includes Greg Holmes at prop and Saia Faingaa at hooker.
Locks Rob Simmons and Ed O'Donoghue will again pack down in the second-row while the exciting young loose trio of Eddie Quirk, Liam Gill and Jake Schatz remains unchanged.
Toua joins a back-three that features Digby Ioane and Dom Shipperley on the wings; Quade Cooper and Ben Lucas will again call the shots from the playmaking roles; and Ben Tapuai and Chris Feauai-Sautia will receive another opportunity to forge a strong partnership in the centres.
With Mike Harris moving to the bench, Quade Cooper will take over the kicking duties for the Reds.
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Ed O'Donoghue, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper (captain), 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Luke Morahan.
Date: Friday, March 1
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 20.20 (10.20 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)