Reds top players at 'long odds' to play - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds top players at 'long odds' to play

By Jim Morton 04/05/2009 04:28:13 PM Comments (0)

Veteran hooker Sean Hardman is poised to captain an injury-riddled Queensland in Friday night's Super 14 match against the Crusaders with Reds leaders James Horwill and Berrick Barnes unlikely to play.

In a huge blow, Reds coach Phil Mooney admitted Wallabies duo Horwill (foot) and Barnes (groin), among eight players injured last week, were "long odds" to travel to Christchurch.

Hardman was unable to properly celebrate his 135th Reds cap, surpassing the state record of Mark Connors, in Saturday night's 52-13 loss to the Brumbies but may receive an extra birthday present this week.

The rake, who turns 32 on Wednesday, is set to be named captain for the first time in the Super 14 with other senior candidate Greg Holmes in danger of losing his position at loose-head prop.

Youngster Ben Daley is in line to be recalled to the starting team after the inconsistent Holmes had a night to forget against the Brumbies.

The fall-out from the seven-tries-to-two loss has seen the competition battlers cancel their Monday afternoon training session due to a lack of fit players.

Halfback Will Genia (finger operation) and winger Peter Hynes (knee) will miss the last two games of the season, while Horwill, Barnes and fullback Mark McLinden (knee) are given little hope of playing the Crusaders.

Mooney still holds hope strike weapon Digby Ioane (shoulder) and flanker Tasi Luafutu (broken hand) can recover in time for Thursday's flight.

With a total of five backs either unavailable or in doubt, Mooney has put club halfbacks Brendan McKibbin and Richard Kingi on notice.

The move indicates the versatile Ben Lucas may be chosen at five-eighth while the erratic Quade Cooper could be selected at fullback.

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