Quade Cooper has a point to prove to Robbie Deans on Saturday. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au
This match pits the past two Super Rugby champions together. 2012 winners, the Chiefs , haven’t missed a beat this season, with their only loss coming in a nailbiting 36-34 defeat against the Stormers in Cape Town. With Quade Cooper and Will Genia finally back in unison as the Reds’ halves combination, Queensland is also making its way up the ladder after recent wins over the Bulls at home and the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Both sides are coming off the bye. Despite this, the Chiefs have made several changes in the forwards, while the Reds have made just one alteration to the team that scraped home by a point against the Highlanders, with flyer Rod Davies replacing Digby Ioane who is carrying a knee injury.
The Reds have a super-impressive record against New Zealand teams having won 10 of their past 11 against sides from across the Tasman. That record includes last season’s 42-27 triumph over the Chiefs. The Waikato side hasn’t beaten the Reds at home since 2008, with Queensland winning matches in Hamilton in 2010 and then again in the championship-winning season of 2011.
Cooper and Genia combined superbly in the bonus point win over the Highlanders and it was only thanks to a late rally from the South Island side that they even got close. Cooper was snubbed by Robbie Deans when he named his 30-man provisional squad for the upcoming Test series against the British and Irish Lions, so he could well be out to prove a point to the coach of the Wallabies.
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