Horwill, O’Connor back for Reds

Date published: April 16 2015

The Reds will be bolstered by the return of James Horwill and James O’Connor for Saturday's clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Reds head coach Richard Graham has made four personnel changes to the starting side from the match that lost 43-22 to the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.

In the forwards, Horwill returns to the starting line-up after missing last weekend due to suspension. He replaces Dave McDuling who injured his knee against the Bulls. James Hanson returns to starting hooker after Saia Fainga’a suffered an upper body injury against the Bulls.

In the backs, O’Connor is back on the starting wing, with Chris Feauai-Sautia shifted to the centres and Anthony Fainga’a moved to the bench.

Graham has opted for a five-three split on the reserves bench, with Andrew Ready again in line to make his debut as reserve hooker. Should he take the field, Ready will be the 14th Queensland debutant this season.

“It is disappointing to lose Saia (Faingaa), Dave (McDuling) and Ben (Tapuai) to injury but we’re fortunate this time around to be able to bring James Horwill and James O’Connor into the side," said Graham.

"Both have a lot of experience at this level of rugby and also playing at altitude here in South Africa.

“We wanted to give Samu (Kerevi) and Chris (Feauai-Sautia) an opportunity to play together again in the centres.

"They have a specific job this weekend in the context of the team’s game plan. Both are big men and should generate momentum when they have the ball."

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Lachie Turner, 13. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 James O’Connor, 10 Nick Frisby, 9 Will Genia, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (c).
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Marco Kotze, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 Anthony Fainga’a, 22 Campbell Magnay, 23 Chris Kuridrani.

Date: Saturday, April 18
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 19:10 local (03:10 AEST, 05:10 NZST, 17:10 GMT)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Referees: Quinton Immelman, Lourens van der Merwe
TMO: Shaun Veldsman