Reds boosted by Horwill's return

Date published: May 17 2013

Reds captain James Horwill and full-back Luke Morahan return to the starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Reds captain James Horwill and full-back Luke Morahan return to the starting XV for Saturday's clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Horwill, who has been cleared of a jaw injury which saw him miss last weekend's 32-17 victory over the Sharks at the weekend, replaces Ed O'Donoghue at lock in the run-on side.

He joins Morahan as the only two changes made to the starting line-up with Morahan chosen at full-back in place of Jono Lance, who has been ruled out of the match with a shoulder injury.

For Morahan, it will be his third starting opportunity of the season and first since his inclusion on the wing in the Reds 34-33 victory over the Highlanders in Dunedin in round seven.

Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie has opted for a forward-heavy five-two split on the bench for the third straight week with prop Ben Daley reclaiming his position after missing the past two matches with a hamstring complaint.

“There are always a huge number of challenges both from a logistical and preparation standpoint when you travel to South Africa so we've chosen to value continuity in our selections while also rewarding players for what was a strong performance against the Sharks,” said McKenzie.

“You can see that in the team we have chosen this week while the additions of James and Luke provide another dimension to how we will play the game.

“James is undoubtedly a great leader of this side and I'm confident we'll also see the best out of Luke as he will no doubt be determined to make the most of the opportunity he is being given.”

The Reds have a strong record against the Cheetahs having won their past three games and four of their six total Super Rugby encounters, including a 31-10 triumph in their last visit to Bloemfontein in 2010.

Continuing their recent success against the Cheetahs will be crucial for the Reds as they enter their tour just one competition point behind the table-topping Brumbies and on equal competition points with reigning champions, the Chiefs.

Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Ben Tapuai.

Date: Saturday, May 18
Kick-off: 19:10 local (18:10 GMT)
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greeff (South Africa)