Faingaa ready to get his hands dirty - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Faingaa ready to get his hands dirty

By Jim Morton 18/02/2010 03:00:54 PM Comments (0)

Dreadlocked hooker Saia Faingaa feels a haircut and some cauliflower ears are a prerequisite to gaining the friendship of old-school Reds coach Ewen McKenzie.

But silencing the doubters in a pressure-packed Queensland run-on debut against the Crusaders on Friday night would certainly go much further in shoring up the new relationship.

Faingaa gets his first chance in two seasons to start for the Reds at Suncorp Stadium with highly-resilient and ever-reliable veteran rake Sean Hardman succumbing to an ankle injury.

Queensland's scrum and lineout faltered with 138-cap Hardman missing in the second half of the devastating 30-28 opening round loss to NSW.

Most telling was a midfield tight-head scrum loss, compounded by a lineout concession on the Reds line, which sparked the Waratahs comeback.

Faingaa wasn't solely to blame but it added to the artillery of his critics. The 23-year-old and his twin, inside centre Anthony, have both failed to live up to expectations since leaving the Brumbies for the Reds a year after they were captain and vice-captain of the world championships-winning Australian U19s in 2006.

The embattled Reds even elected to sign the pair after the 2007 Super 14 in full knowledge it would certainly push world-class Wallabies rake Stephen Moore to Canberra.

While Moore has been a powerhouse for the Brumbies, Saia Faingaa almost fell out of the Reds 22 late last season as he felt guilty of attempting to over-play his hand. He also admitted he failed to "buckle down" under Phil Mooney.

"It was a disappointing season for me last year and this year I've got an opportunity so I have to make sure I take it and perform," said the Canberra product, also excited to be starting a Super 14 clash beside his brother.

"This week I can hopefully play my game and not try and do the extra stuff.

"It's a new era for me."

Faingaa has responded well to former Wallabies prop McKenzie, even though his long locks and good looks are in contrast to the ex-Waratah mentor's crew cut.

"He has a set-piece focus which is really good for me," he said.

"My scrummaging has come up a lot with him and (scrum coach) Alec Evans.

"I probably need to get a haircut sooner or later to be friends with him (though), and a couple of cauliflowered ears," he smiled.

Anthony Faingaa will have a massive assignment of his own, helping Quade Cooper minimise the damage All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter can wreak from first receiver.

McKenzie has been burnt by Carter in two Super rugby finals and during his stint with Stade Francais, but is also on guard for Crusaders No.8 Thomas Waldrom and halfback Andy Ellis.

The seven-time champions haven't lost to the Reds since 1999 and will be warm favourites away from home, but are wary following their 21-14 trial defeat three weeks ago.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news