Super Rugby
Embattled Reds name rookie fly-half
ESPN Staff
May 13, 2015
Hunt will make his return after three weeks on the sideline © Getty Images

The struggling Reds have named rookie fly-half Jake McIntyre to make his debut against the in-form Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium on Friday. A member of the Elite Development Squad and the starting fly-half during Brisbane City's run during last year's NRC, McIntyre is one of two changes to the Reds starting side.

The 21-year-old has been named to take over the problem role with Nick Frisby in doubt with concussion and Quade Cooper still on the sidelines through a shoulder injury. An off-season knee injury has kept McIntyre out for much of this season but he will now get the chance to make an impact in the No.10 jersey.

The Reds have given their entire backline a shake-up with Karmichael Hunt making his return in the new position of outside centre. He will start in outside centre, with Samu Kerevi shifting to inside centre, while James O'Connor has been moved to fullback and Lachie Turner onto the wing.

An abductor strain and a nasty case of gastro kept Hunt sidelined for three weeks, and his return will give the Reds some relief for their woeful injury list, but a concussion to Anthony Fainga'a has added to the side's problems.

After falling to a huge loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch last Friday, embattled Reds coach Richard Graham knows the side must win against the Rebels.

"There has been a fair bit of self-review going on this week but as they say, the great thing about sport is there is always next week. We find ourselves playing again this Friday night in what we all realise is a must-win game," Graham said.

"Jake (McIntyre) and I had a discussion about an opportunity for him a few weeks ago. He had a long stint out following the NRC and just needed some time playing club Rugby. We almost gave him a debut last week but felt it was in his best interests to play 80 minutes more on the weekend for Sunnybank.

Graham said he would have to wait until Thursday to see if Frisby will be available, otherwise Scott Dale will come onto the bench.

"Nick [Frisby] suffered a head knock last week and we won't know until Thursday if he'll be cleared to play," Graham said "We couldn't prepare as a team under those circumstances. He has been a fantastic contributor to the team over the past two months. He has been unselfish and has demonstrated how quickly he has been able to adapt to a very difficult role. People need to remember that through circumstance he was the sixth-choice fly-half and in my opinion he has done very well. The consistent time on the field now will benefit him greatly moving forward."

Reds: James SLipper (c), James Hanson, Greg Holmes, Rob Simmons, James Horwill, Adam Thomson, Liam Gill, Jake Shatz, Will Genia, Jake McIntyre, Lachie Turner, Samu Kerevi, Karmichael Hunt, Chris Feauai-Sautia, James O'Connor Reserves: Andrew Ready, Pettowa Paraka, Sam Talakai, Ed O'Donoghue, Lolo Fakosilea, Nick Frisby/Scott Gale, Sam Greene, Ben Tapuai

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