Cooper starts at 10 for Reds

Date published: May 28 2015

Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper returns to the Reds starting XV for Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the Western Force in Perth.

Cooper will make his return from a two-month injury layoff. His inclusion is one of two changes to the starting side as Lachie Turner also returns from injury to take his place on the wing, with Chris Kuridrani ruled out with a calf strain.

Flanker Beau Robinson will feature in his first matchday squad of the 2015 season, after tearing his calf in the pre-season.

Graham has named an extended nine-man bench for the trip to Perth, with one player to be omitted prior to the match.

“Quade (Cooper) was given the all clear 10 days ago but we wanted to keep working on his strength and bulk just to ensure we didn’t compromise his return," said Reds head coach Richard Graham.

"He has been training with the squad now for about three weeks and will have no problems returning to play at this level.

"Jake (McIntyre) will drop to the bench. He has done a good job over the past two weeks. He will take a lot of learnings from two very different games and he should take some confidence from how he has managed the team around the field.

"It has been an extremely challenging year with injuries and Beau (Robinson) knows that better than most. After an excellent pre-season he suffered a calf strain in our final trial against the Crusaders and since has endured a number of foot injuries.

"He has now played a few Premier Rugby games for Souths and is full of enthusiasm to be back in a Reds jersey. He is a fantastic communicator and will provide a lot of energy around the group.

"It is unfortunate to lose Chris (Kuridrani) as he made some strong runs last weekend, however we are fortunate to bring Lachie (Turner) back into the team.”

The Reds and Force have met 13 times in the history of Super Rugby, with six wins each and one draw.

Reds: 15 James O’Connor, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Karmichael Hunt, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (c),
Replacements (one to be omitted): Andrew Ready, Pettowa Paraka, Sam Talakai, Ed O’Donoghue, Beau Robinson, Nick Frisby, Jake McIntyre, Ben Tapuai , Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.

Date: Saturday, May 30
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off:  17:40 local (09:40 GMT, 19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZST, 11:40 SAST)
Referee: Matt O'Brien
Assistant referees: Damien Mitchelmore, Michael Hogan
TMO: Peter Marshall