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Genia returns to lead Reds

14th March 2013 05:50

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Will Genia congratulated after scoring nice try for Reds

Genia: Positive spark for Reds

Scrum-half Will Genia will make his return from injury as part of three changes made to the Reds starting line-up to face the Force at Suncorp Stadium.

Along with the highly anticipated return of Genia, the Reds side will feature a new wing combination with flyer Luke Morahan and young gun Chris Feauai-Sautia coming into the starting XV.

19-year-old Feauai-Sautia has flourished in his four appearances this year, including two games as the team's starting outside centre, while for Morahan his selection represents his first opportunity in the starting line-up for 2013.

The duo come in for wingers Digby Ioane and Dom Shipperley, who has been ruled out of the match with a minor back injury.

For Genia, he will be taking the field for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in Australia's 26-19 victory over South Africa in Perth on September 8. Genia will captain the side in his return with prop James Slipper the team's vice-captain.

Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said the return of Genia would provide a positive spark for a Reds side who had stepped up and performed strongly in his absence.

"It's great to have Will Genia fit once again but I've also been impressed with the way this side has functioned during the opening month, coming away with three crucial wins despite missing some of our senior guys," McKenzie said.

"Younger guys have stepped up, brought into what we are trying to deliver both on and off the field, and ultimately delivered a result.

"Their efforts have put us in a strong position as we continue to welcome back some of our more experienced guys. Already Radike Samo and Anthony Faingaa have re-joined the group while Will Genia makes his return on Saturday.

"We will be without Digby and Dom on Saturday but I've got complete faith in both Luke and Chris to get the job done.

"Chris has already thrived in his opportunities this year while Luke has been a proven performer since debuting for the Reds in 2009 and he also earned his first cap for the Wallabies only last year."

For the fourth consecutive match the Reds will field an unchanged starting forward pack with Slipper, hooker Saia Faingaa and Greg Holmes packing down in the front-row; Ed O'Donoghue and Rob Simmons in the second row; and Eddie Quirk, Liam Gill and Jake Schatz in the back-row.

Genia reignites his successful playmaking partnership with Quade Cooper in the halves, the formidable pairing of Ben Tapuai and Anthony Faingaa remain in the centres, and Jono Lance joins Morahan and Feauai-Sautia as part of a young but talented back three.

On the bench, young flanker Jarrad Butler joins James Hanson, Albert Anae and Adam Wallace-Harrison as cover for the forwards while Nick Frisby, Mike Harris and Aidan Toua are the backs.

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Ed Quirk, 5 Ed O'Donoghue, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Nick Frisby, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Aidan Toua.

Date: Saturday, 16 March
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19:40
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffman (Australia), Matt O'Brien (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

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