McMeniman to make call on Reds return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McMeniman to make call on Reds return

By Jim Morton 23/02/2009 07:47:21 PM Comments (0)

Queensland will allow pivotal Wallabies forward Hugh McMeniman to decide on whether he returns from compassionate leave for Sunday's Super 14 clash with the Cheetahs.

The Reds are understandably keen for McMeniman to bolster their inexperienced pack for the battle with the huge Cheetahs forwards but won't pressure their most aggressive player.

Coach Phil Mooney will sit down with the 200cm, 114kg lock-flanker in the next two days to ensure he has a clear head over a desire to return at a traumatic time due to a grave family situation.

McMeniman missed Queensland's two-match tour of South Africa where they battled gamely in tight losses to the Bulls and Stormers.

His absence and that of fellow Wallabies lock James Horwill were tough for the Reds to overcome but the strong performances of tall forwards Scott Higginbotham, Van Humphries and Adam Byrnes went some way to closing the gap.

Higginbotham's stand-out display in the 27-24 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town virtually ensures McMeniman won't be able to play in his favoured blind-side position if he returns this Sunday at Suncorp Stadium.

Byrnes would be the most likely fall guy for McMeniman in the second-row, where he played the bulk of the Wallabies 2008 spring tour.

Big Highlanders recruit Ezra Taylor has been given the all-clear to return from ankle surgery but is set to make his comeback in the curtain-raising Queensland Second XV clash with NSW.

Skipper Berrick Barnes - in doubt along with Peter Hynes and Sean Hardman - has reported an improvement in his quad injury, while injured centre partner Morgan Turinui will undergo scans on his lingering shoulder problem on Tuesday.

Mooney spent Monday with Test coach Robbie Deans who was pleased with what he's seen at the Reds despite their winless opening.

"He was very positive," Mooney said. "In his words the Bulls and the Stormers will be two of the better performing teams and I think the Blues game (thumped 59-26 by the Bulls) showed our performances had a bit of merit in them."

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