Cooper back at 10 for Reds

Date published: March 25 2015

Reds head coach Richard Graham has made numerous changes to his starting XV for Friday's clash with the Lions in Brisbane.

Quade Cooper, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi and Lachie Turner will make their return from injury in the starting backline, while props Greg Holmes and Ben Daley have been named on the reserves bench.

Graham commended the players for their efforts since returning from the bye and said he was pleased to have a selection headache for this week’s match.

“As a consequence of not only availability but also training quality, Greg Holmes, Ben Daley, Quade Cooper, Samu Kerevi, Lachie Turner and James O’Connor have all pushed their way into this week’s 23-man squad,” he said.

“Getting the balance right between selecting first and second game players with the more match hardened was a strong consideration in selection of the team.

“Next week and the week after will add similar pressures, with more players expected to return from injury, but it is what we have been wanting and it’ll only create a more competitive environment that ultimately benefits the team.”

In addition to those changes, Reds Elite Development Squad member Michael Gunn has the potential to make his Super Rugby debut after being named as a reserve flanker.

“Michael is the 12th player to make his debut for the Reds this season and it’s great to be able to continue to demonstrate the strength of our pathways in Queensland,” added Graham.

“A number of players were rewarded with spots in our program at the end of the National Rugby Championship and they have all contributed a lot to the team environment over a number of months.”

Reds: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 James O’Connor, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Curtis Browning, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Dave McDuling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (c).
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Marco Kotze, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Tapuai, 23 Chris Feauai-Sautia.

Date: Friday, March 27
Venue: Lang Park, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.00 local (09.00 GMT, 22.00 NZST, 11.00 SAST)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)