McKenzie punts on mobile Reds pack - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McKenzie punts on mobile Reds pack

By Jim Morton 08/04/2010 05:18:47 PM Comments (0)

Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie has continued to tinker with the rebuilding Reds by making four changes to his starting side for Sunday morning's (AEST) Super 14 clash with the win-less Lions.

Firebrand lock Adam Byrnes has been dumped from the Reds' 22-man squad entirely while speedster Rod Davies has been picked to start at Johannesburg's Coca-Cola Park.

Melbourne-bound Byrnes has paid the price as McKenzie looks for more mobility in his pack following Queensland's 30-28 Durban loss to the Sharks.

Youngster Rob Simmons will start in the second-row alongside Van Humphries, while Saia Faingaa takes over from Sean Hardman at hooker and bustling No.8 Leroy Houston replaces Jake Schatz.

Although the Lions are last on the Super 14 table and possess the worst defence (conceding 45 points per match), McKenzie rates them a "complicated" opponent.

"They play a physical brand of rugby but they move the ball a lot, so mobility is key," he said.

"They've got amazing statistics in terms of how much they move the ball and how many metres they run with the ball.

"They use the width of the field and they use their direct play so it's a complicated game."

The Reds' need for extra mobility is reflected in McKenzie's decision to revert to a traditional 4-3 split on the bench after taking five forward reserves in against the Sharks.

Among the four forwards are back-rowers Ezra Taylor and Schatz, while young centre Ben Tapuai is set to play his first match in 2010 off the bench.

Will Chambers, who scored two tries in Durban, remains at outside centre while Wallabies tourist Luke Morahan has made way for another young gun in Davies, who started the first three rounds before copping a broken cheekbone against the Blues.

"(Davies) exited through injury and he has played a couple of games off the bench," McKenzie said.

"In glimpses off the bench he has shown he is a real speed asset.

"We're not unhappy with Luke (Morahan), we're just looking for more energy and we think Davies is starting to show that."

The Reds sit fifth on the table, two behind the fourth-placed Stormers, and victory is vital to their hopes of an unlikely finals finish.

Although the Lions have been cellar-dwellers, Queensland haven't beaten the Johannesburg-based team since 2006.

Queensland: Peter Hynes, Rod Davies, Will Chambers, Anthony Faingaa, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia (capt), Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Scott Higginbotham, Van Humphries, Rob Simmons, Laurie Weeks, Saia Faingaa, Ben Daley. Res: Sean Hardman, Greg Holmes, Ezra Taylor, Jake Schatz, Ben Lucas, Ben Tapuai, Luke Morahan.

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