Horwill returns for Reds

Date published: March 12 2015

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Reds head coach Richard Graham has made three changes to his starting XV for Saturday's derby with the Brumbies in Brisbane.

Veteran lock James Horwill was a late withdrawal from last week’s clash with the Waratahs due to back spasms, but has been declared fit and will take the place of Dave McDuling in the starting line-up.

On the flip side, injury has forced two changes to the back three, with Lachie Turner and James O’Connor ruled out.

After suffering a second successive concussion against the Waratahs, Turner is on an automatic one game stand down and is replaced by impressive teenager Campbell Magnay on the wing.

O’Connor has a leg injury and has been unable to train this week so makes way for Ben Tapuai at full-back.

“It is fantastic to have Kev (James Horwill) back in the team after a few weeks on the sideline," Graham told the Reds' official website.

"His hand injury was a freak injury but a horrendous one at the same time. His withdrawal last week with a back spasm has allowed him an extra seven days recovery and he’ll be fully fit this weekend.

“We haven’t been able to manage the continuity of selection in the backs but we have a lot of clarity on the way that we want to play. Will (Genia) and Nick (Frisby) will be playing their third game together this year and are developing an understanding of how they can complement each other.

“Taps (Ben Tapuai) adds another kicking option with his left foot and it’ll open up options down the left side of the field. Whilst he hasn’t played a lot with the team this season, his 25 minute stint last weekend demonstrated how well he understands what we want and what benefits he can add to the team’s shape.

“James (O’Connor) is a victim of his own previous injury and of the situation we have found ourselves in with the number of backline injuries.

"He was always skinny on the amount of work he’d done and then found himself playing 80 minutes back to back. He suffered a nasty cork early in the Waratahs game which finished as a small strain by the end.

"It’s not ideal but we have been chasing a bit in the backs due to the lack of numbers and continuity."

The replacements bench sees University of Queensland fullback Tom Banks once again get the opportunity to make his Reds and Super Rugby debut – after he was also named in the matchday 23 to play the Western Force in Round Two, but didn’t take the field.

Reds: 15 Ben Tapuai, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Campbell Magnay, 10 Nick Frisby,9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Marco Kotze, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (c).
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Johnson, 23 Tom Banks.

Date: Saturday, March 14
Kick-off: 18.40 local (08.40 GMT, 21.40 NZST, 10.40 SAST)
Venue: Lang Park, Brisbane
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

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