McLinden goes forward with Reds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McLinden goes forward with Reds

By Laine Clark 03/02/2009 01:53:56 PM Comments (0)

According to his Queensland Reds skipper Berrick Barnes, Peter Hynes is the world's form winger.

But Hynes will be wearing the No.15 jersey for Queensland's final pre-season trial against Western Force at Ballymore on Thursday night.

League convert Mark McLinden has been groomed to step into the big shoes of Reds legend Chris Latham at fullback.

However, Reds coach Phil Mooney said using McLinden in Thursday's curtain raiser against the Force Academy would be best for the ex-Canberra playmaker's rugby re-education.

Barnes - who will make his comeback from a knee injury on Thursday night - raved about Wallabies teammate Hynes at the recent Reds launch.

"He has shown he is the form winger in the Super 14 competition if not the world," Barnes said, standing alongside a blushing Hynes.

However, Hynes - last year's Wallabies Rookie of the Year - will show his versatility when he shifts to fullback on Thursday night to give Brando Va'aulu a shot on the wing for the first time in 2009.

"We're still experimenting with the back three," Mooney said.

"Brando has yet to have a real crack at wing this season so he deserves the opportunity, and Hynesy has played fullback before."

McLinden may have been an Australian under 16 rugby representative but the 165-game NRL veteran is finding the 15-man learning curve steep.

"I am not sure if the game has changed or my memory has faded but everything that comes naturally to me in rugby league is wrong (for rugby)," McLinden told Channel Seven.

Not that Mooney is unhappy with McLinden's switch.

"Mark really needs to play footy. It's better for him to have a good run in the early match rather than sit on the bench for the main game," he said.

After being cleared of a striking charge at a judicial hearing last week, Sydney recruit Adam Byrnes will partner Van Humphries in the Reds second-row after Mooney opted to rest Wallaby flanker Hugh McMeniman.

Ben Lucas will start at halfback with Will Genia coming off the bench.

Young speedster Blair Connor has been rewarded for his impressive appearance in their weekend trial loss to the Blues at Auckland with a bench berth.

Mooney said there were still positions up for grabs before their Super 14 season opener against the Bulls at Pretoria on February 14.

Former Wallaby Morgan Turinui (shoulder) has been cleared to play but Charlie Fetoai (knee) may also be added to the squad.

Reds squad: Peter Hynes, Brando Va'aulu, Morgan Turinui, Berrick Barnes (capt), Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Scott Higginbotham, Adam Byrnes, Van Humphries, Dayna Edwards, Sean Hardman, Greg Holmes. Reserves: Saia Faingaa, Laurie Weeks, Robert Simmons, Poutasi Luafutu, Will Genia, Anthony Faingaa, Blair Connor.

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