The St.George Queensland Reds have made two changes to their line-up for Fridayâs round three Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes at Suncorp Stadium with flyer Aidan Toua returning to the starting XV and backrower Radike Samo coming onto the bench (kickoff 8:15pm Qld time).
Fridayâs match will be the second opportunity for Toua to impress in 2013 after he made a successful return from an offseason hamstring injury at outside centre against the Brumbies in round one before being rested in last Saturdayâs Templeton Cup success over the Waratahs.
The return of cult figure Radike Samo offers the Reds another strike weapon from the bench with Samo replacing injured backrower Jarrad Butler, who was unavailable for selection with an AC joint injury he sustained at the weekend.
Queensland Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said the Reds were targeting a more complete performance against the Hurricanes.
âWe 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,â McKenzie said.
âWe 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.Â 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.
âHowever, before that Aidan had earned his place in the starting side against the Brumbies, so weâre 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.
âWeâre 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.
âHaving Radike healthy once again is also pleasing.Â We all saw the impact he made with his involvements during the trials and weâll be looking for a repeat performance when heâs called upon on Friday night.â
Fridayâs match is an opportunity for the Reds to continue building on their impressive record at âfortressâ 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 Queenslandâs 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.
âThe 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,â McKenzie said.
âFor us, weâve 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.â
The Reds field an unchanged forward-pack for Friday nightâs 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 OâDonoghue will again pack down in the second-row while the exciting young backrow 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.
St.George Queensland Reds v Hurricanes Team
1. Greg Holmes
2. Saia Faingaa
3. James Slipper (c)
4. Rob Simmons
5. Ed OâDonoghue
6. Eddie Quirk
7. Liam Gill
8. Jake Schatz
9. Ben Lucas
10. Quade Cooper
11. Digby Ioane
12. Ben Tapuai (vc)
13. Chris Feauai-Sautia
14. Dom Shipperley
15. Aidan Toua
16. James Hanson
17. Albert Anae
18. Adam Wallace-Harrison
19. Radike Samo
20. Nick Frisby
21. Mike Harris
22. Luke Morahan