No Panic In Reds’ Den

Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au
The Reds are looking to run big Cheetahs off their legs. courtesy of couriermail.com.au

Humbled by the Waratahs in last week, the Queensland Reds are keen to make amends against the Cheetahs at Ballymore on Friday night. Coach Richard Graham has made five changes to his starting XV, largely because of injury. Corks have forced hooker Saia Fainga'a and prop James Slipper to move to the bench, with James Hanson and Ben Daley taking their places. A knee injury means Lachie Turner will sit-out the match and his wing spot goes to Rod Davies, while Mike Harris and Chris Feauai-Sautia have been named in the centres ahead of Anthony Fainga'a and Ben Tapuai.

Davies is hoping to recapture the form which made him one of the Reds’ starting wingers for much of 2013, before a serious knee injury ended his campaign. He ruptured ligaments during the final fixture match, missing Queensland’s only appearance in the finals. Having made a speedy and successful recovery from a knee reconstruction, the 24-year-old is keen to make the most of his opportunity.

The Cheetahs have won just one of their three Super Rugby outings this season. In round 1, they went down to the Lions 21-20, before defeating the Bulls 15-9. Last Friday night in Melbourne, the Cheetahs opened their Australian tour with a 35-14 defeat at the hands of the Rebels. However, last year’s qualifying finalists did beat the Reds 27-13 at their last meeting in Bloemfontein last year. Prior to that, the Queensland side was successful 41-8 at home in 2011.

The Reds have noted their opponents this week boast a big pack and have hinted they will play some expansive rugby in order to gas the Cheetahs’ forwards. The homeside has also backed its defence, even though four tries were conceded to the Tahs last Saturday. The Reds paid dearly for missing 19 tackles against the Australian Conference favourites.

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