Last Chance Saloon For Reds

Image courtesy of Images
Liam Gill returns from injury to help the Reds find some form. Image courtesy of Images
Blues v Reds
Eden Park, Auckland
Friday May 2 – 5:35 PM (AEST)


The time has come for the Reds to perform. To say they've been disappointing is an understatement. Boasting more than a handful of representative players in their side, they should be a lot higher up the ladder. With Will Genia at scrum-half, Quade Cooper at stand-off and James Horwill at lock, you would expect them to be among the heavyweights. But they are hovering around the bottom, with only three wins for the season.

The return of forwards Greg Holmes and Liam Gill is timely. Holmes slips back into tighthead, moving Ben Daley to the bench and James Slipper to loosehead. Gill returns after injuring his hamstring five weeks ago, starting at openside flanker, pushing Beau Robinson to the bench. In the backs, Rod Davies and Anthony Fainga’a return to the starting side, with Davies moving to left wing and Fainga’a to inside centre. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi and Ben Lucas revert to the bench, with Mike Harris at fullback. In his 100th appearance for the Reds, you hope Cooper can produce some trademark magic.

Coming off a week filled with media disruptions following the Benji Marshall saga, the Blues put on one of their best performances, stunning the Waratahs 21-13. The Blues have only made one injury-forced change to the starting side that trounced the Tahs in Auckland last week. Brendan O’Conner starts at openside flanker, replacing injured skipper Luke Braid (shoulder). On the bench, Ofa Tu’ungafasi replaces the injured Sam Prattley and outside back George Moala comes in for Pita Ahki. Sir John Kirwan has made one positional change, with Peter Saili switching to blindside flanker and Jerome Kaino moving to No.8. He's looking for more control at the base of the scrum.

The Reds need to find form, and quick. With the Blues building some momentum, it’s a tall order.

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