Super Rugby
Reds bolster line-up for Blues showdown
ESPNscrum Staff
June 30, 2011
The Reds' Radike Samo takes on the Bulls' defence, Reds v Bulls, Super Rugby, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, April 16, 2011
Radike Samo will pack down for the Reds against the Blues in Brisbane on Saturday © Getty Images

The Reds welcome back a quartet of first-choice players for their Super Rugby semi-final clash with the Blues at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Head coach Ewen McKenzie has restored rampaging No.8 Radike Samo to the pack after he was benched in the final regular season match against the Chiefs in Hamilton while openside flanker Beau Robinson, wing Digby Ioane and centre Anthony Faingaa make timely returns from injury.

In the only injury enforced change to the side that secured top seeding for the finals series after winning 19-11 in Hamilton, former Wallabies prop Greg Holmes replaces James Slipper in the front row. Holmes was preferred to Guy Shepherdson, who is included in a bench comprising five forwards and two backs. Robinson's recovery from a dislocated elbow means Liam Gill reverts to the reserves while Jake Schatz makes way for Samo and Dom Shipperly drops out of the squad to accommodate Ioane's return from concussion.

Will Chambers is also relegated to the bench for Anthony Faingaa, who has recovered from a hamstring strain and former All Black and Crusaders stalwart Caleb Ralph's temporary involvement with the squad has ended with Ioane's comeback.

McKenzie was relieved to be able to name almost an optimum starting line-up for the Reds first play-off match since 2001. "We've been extremely impressed with the way our squad has handled the absence of some of our regulars but you need strike power and experience to win the big games and we have that returning in spades on Saturday night," he said.

Reds: Jono Lance; Rod Davies, Anthony Faingaa, Ben Tapuai, Digby Ioane; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Ben Daley, Radike Samo, Beau Robinson, Scott Higginbotham, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, Greg Holmes, Saia Faingaa

Replacements: James Hanson, Guy Shepherdson, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ian Prior, Will Chambers

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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