Super Rugby
Queensland Reds make five changes for Cheetahs
ESPN Staff
March 4, 2014

Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham has made five changes to his starting side to face the Cheetahs at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Friday, with Rod Davies and James Hanson recalled after long-term injuries to provide a feelgood story after their horror 32-5 loss to New South Wales Waratahs.

Davies plays his first Super Rugby game since last July after overcoming a knee reconstruction, the flying winger replacing Lachie Turner who is nursing a knee niggle. Turner initially suffered the injury in a trial against the Chiefs, but he is in no danger of missing their looming two-game trip to South Africa.

"It's great to see Rod back," Graham said. "It was an horrific knee injury last year."

Hanson, meanwhile, reclaims the No.2 jersey to cap his recovery from nerve neck damage suffered eight months ago. His rival for the hooker role - Saia Fainga'a - is on the bench after suffering a cork in the loss to the Waratahs.

Graham praised Hanson, who had to undergo everything from neck strengthening and posture adjustment to Pilates and physiotherapy to fight his way back into the Reds side.

"He's another good story with the nerve injury in his neck and shoulder," Graham said. "He worked overtime to get himself back for the trials, and his contribution the last two games have been very good."

Mike Harris returns from the ankle complaint that forced his late withdrawal from the side that lost in Sydney, replacing Anthony Fainga'a at inside centre, and Chris Feauai-Sautia will make his first start of the year at outside centre. Fainga'a and Ben Tapuai have been moved to the bench.

In other changes, prop Ben Daley takes over from James Slipper at loose-head. Slipper, like Fainga'a, moves to the bench after suffering a cork on the weekend.

Graham said the Reds wanted to restore some pride after their defeat in Sydney.

Waratahs 32 - 5 Reds (Australia Only)

"Obviously we were disappointed with the result on the weekend," he said. " We've got a group pretty keen to resolve that. [But] I think you have to put it into context. Four of our first five games are away from home; two are derby games which are tough.

"We were disappointed. There's no doubt we didn't play well the other night, certainly not what we were capable of."

Reds: Aidan Toua; Rod Davies, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Eddie Quirk; James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons; Greg Holmes, James Hanson, Ben Daley. Replacements: Saia Fainga'a, James Slipper, Jono Owen, Ed O'Donoghue, Beau Robinson, Nick Frisby, Anthony Fainga'a, Ben Tapuai.


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