Reds back-row Curtis Browning will make his starting debut on Sunday in one of six changes to the starting line-up to face the Crusaders.
Reds back-row Curtis Browning will make his starting debut on Sunday in one of six changes to the starting line-up to face the Crusaders in Brisbane.
Browning, a former Australian U20 captain, has already played five games for the Reds, but never in the starting XV. He will start at blindside flanker, in place of injured loose forward Eddie Quirk.
Also in the forwards, Ben Daley earns his third start of the season, replacing suspended prop James Slipper at loosehead. James Hanson will start ahead of Saia Fainga'a at hooker and Beau Robinson returns to openside for Liam Gill.
There are two changes to the backline that faced the Blues in Auckland last weekend. Dom Shipperley replaces injured Chris Feauai-Sautia on the wing. This will be Shipperley's first match since injuring his hip flexor against the Stormers in Round 7. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi returns to the starting line-up, with Rod Davies moved to the reserves bench.
Reds utility front-rower Albert Anae returns to the 23 to cover prop, while Dave McDuling has been presented another opportunity to make his debut for Queensland after being named in a replacement back-row slot.
Reds head coach Richard Graham said while some of the changes were forced, he was confident in the team and their ability to get the job done on Sunday.
“Some of the changes in the forward pack come on the back of injury and suspension, however Chibba (James Hanson), Dales (Ben Daley) and Beau (Robinson) have been very good for us this season,” Graham said.
“Curtis has continued to develop well throughout the season and his work at the tackle and ability to get to the gain line will be important this weekend.
“Through injury across the season we haven't been able to present consistent selection in the back three, however Dom (Shipperley) returns from injury and will add some speed and experience in the backfield. On the other wing JJ starts and will be better for the range of experiences he has been exposed to this season.
“The results have not gone our way, but we realise we are not that far off. The playing group have continued to work hard. They understand that change will come if we focus on the issues that make the most difference, continue to prepare at a high standard and remain committed as a squad.
“We are pleased to be back at Suncorp in front of our own supporters this weekend. There is a long-standing rivalry with the Crusaders dating back to the start of Super Rugby. They are a very good side and I have no doubts the Sunday afternoon fixture will bring a huge crowd of families to see a fantastic game of Rugby.”
Reds: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Dave McDuling, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Rod Davies.
Date: Sunday, May 11
Kick-off: 16:05 local (07:05 BST, 06:05 GMT)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
Television match official: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)