Returning Qld Reds look to impress coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Returning Qld Reds look to impress coach

Laine Clark 22/06/2011 05:40:58 PM Comments (0)

Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but the Queensland Reds are bracing for some tough love when their coach Ewen McKenzie finally returns to Brisbane.

Queensland are welcoming back their stars from injury as they prepare for next weekend's Super Rugby semi-final at Suncorp Stadium.

But perhaps the biggest cheer will be saved for McKenzie, who has had his return from Sydney disrupted by flight chaos caused by the Chilean ash cloud.

However, joy may be shortlived for the Reds' big name returning players.

Centre Anthony Faingaa said the rest of the recovering Reds knew they would be given no favours by the hard-marking McKenzie if they didn't make the training paddock by Monday.

"Ewen is not selecting anyone if they don't train on Monday - he has got tough standards but I think that is the right decision," Faingaa said of McKenzie on Wednesday.

"That's been Ewen from day one and that is why we have gone so well - he has had to make the hard decisions.

"This is Ewen trusting the players he has got. He has a belief in our squad and that has held us in good stead."

In-form winger Digby Ioane (concussion) and workhorse Beau Robinson (elbow) are set to return, and centres Faingaa (hamstring) and Mike Harris (knee) are back running ahead of the semi-final.

Faingaa was hopeful of returning after MRI scans cleared his troublesome hamstring on Tuesday.

"It is a hamstring so you just don't know. But Link (McKenzie) knows I will do whatever it takes to be at my best next week," Faingaa said.

"I am ready to go but medical staff and Ewen have the last decision - it is a waiting game."

McKenzie knows that game well.

Cancelled flights aborted his plans to return from Sydney after visiting family this week.

He missed training on Wednesday and will not return until Friday after deciding to remain in Sydney for Thursday night's Super Rugby Awards where the Reds are expected to clean up.

Reds captain James Horwill said McKenzie was out of sight but certainly not out of mind thanks to modern technology.

"He is staying in contact with the players - he is certainly making his presence felt," Horwill said on Wednesday.

"Hopefully he will be back for our first session on Friday - I don't think it (being stranded in Sydney) will be too big a deal."

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