Returning skipper leads Reds to victory - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Returning skipper leads Reds to victory

Evan Schwarten 29/01/2011 11:04:02 PM Comments (0)

Queensland Reds skipper James Horwill led his side to a 42-15 trial match victory over the Crusaders in his first game since a devastating knee injury ended his 2010 season early.

The 24-Test Wallaby gave a tight performance despite fumbling his first touch of the ball as his side dominated the New Zealanders in Cairns.

Horwill was forced to sit out most of the Reds' 2010 Super 14 season after a round two injury left him needing a knee reconstruction.

In his absence replacement skipper Will Genia led the perennial underachievers to their best season in years, finishing just short of a fairytale finals berth.

His impressive personal performance and skilled leadership led to speculation he may be retained as skipper in 2011 but coach Ewen Mackenzie opted to reinstate the damaging Wallabies forward at the helm.

The Reds' hopes of building on their surprising 2010 performance appeared well founded on Saturday night as the side walked all over the Kiwi powerhouse.

Flanker Radike Samo put the Reds on the board early after crossing the line at the 12 minute mark followed by Will Chambers and then Saia Faingaa just minutes later.

From there the New Zealanders struggled to get back in the game, although a penalty kick from Flyhalf Tyler Bleyendaal put them on the board before halftime.

The Queenslanders dominated again in the second half with tries to Beau Robinson, Digby Ioane and Mike Harris, although Crusaders flanker George Whitelock and centre Robbie Fruean also crossed for the Kiwis.

The Reds will take on the Brumbies in Darwin next weekend in their final trial match ahead of the start of the Super Rugby season.

McKenzie praised his captain's successful return to the game.

"He had a good impact on the game, his lineout work was impeccable, kick off etc so it was like he hadn't missed a beat," he told reporters.

"I think a lot of people were hoping he'd have a successful comeback and he's done that."

Mackenzie was also impressed with the team's new recruits.

"We were pleased with some of the guys we've recruited, they've mixed in well and made a very successful contribution."

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