Will Genia will captain the Reds in the absence of James Horwill. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper/couriermail.com.au
The Queensland Reds will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing result against the Force in Perth last week when they host South Africa’s Sharks at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. The Reds are just two points off the top of the Super Rugby table while the Force are one of the cellar dwellers but nothing could separate the teams last week with the match finishing 11-11. It was the second successive match that Queensland failed to score more than twelve points in and Ewen McKenzie has elected to make several changes to his backline in an effort to find more potency in attack.
Anthony Faingaa will line up at inside centre for the first time since 2011, while Chris Feauai-Sautia will wear his vacant number 13 jersey. Rod Davies replaces injured winger Dom Shipperley on the flank, while a jaw injury sustained last week forces skipper James Horwill to miss the match with Ed O’Donoghue takes his place in the second row. Prop James Slipper also returns to the starting XV as vice-captain with Will Genia to lead the side.
The Sharks are precariously placed in the competition following four straight defeats and desperately need a win in Brisbane to keep their season alive. An injury to Springbok centre Frans Steyn sees him ruled out of the match but flanker Willem Alberts returns to the fray for the first time this season, having recovered from shoulder surgery in February.
Neither of these sides have been at the peak of their powers in recent times but the Reds are 10 points ahead of the Sharks on the Super Rugby table. The South African franchise did win both meetings between the sides last season however, including an upset 30-17 win at Suncorp Stadium in week one of the finals.
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