Super Rugby round 13
Horwill to miss Sharks clash
ESPN Staff
May 9, 2013
Reds skipper James Horwill is helped from the field with injury, Brumbies v Reds, Super Rugby, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia, May 26, 2012
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie has opted for the safe approach with James Horwill © Getty Images

Queensland Reds captain James Horwill will miss Friday night's Super Rugby encounter against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium, with his omission one of four personnel changes made to the team's starting line-up.

Horwill had been progressing strongly since taking a jaw knock in the opening half of the match against Western Force, but after receiving further advice from medical staff on Thursday morning it was decided a cautious approach would be the best course of action, with the Reds flying to South Africa on Sunday morning for their tough two-game tour of the Republic.

Scrum-half Will Genia will take over the captaincy duties in Horwill's absence, while lock Ed O'Donoghue will take his place in the second row for what will be his sixth starting appearance of 2013.

The Reds have made three changes to their starting backline, with Rod Davies returning to full fitness in place of injured flyer Dom Shipperley (back) and a new centre pairing of Anthony Faingaa at inside centre and Chris Feauai-Sautia at outside centre.

Faingaa will wear the No. 12 jersey for the first time since the Reds' championship-winning campaign in 2011, with centre Ben Tapuai to be used in a new role from the bench.

In another change, prop James Slipper returns to the starting line-up as the team's vice-captain and tight-head prop with Greg Holmes, in his milestone 100th game for Queensland, moving back to loosehead.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said the decision to rule Horwill out of the match would ensure the Reds captain would be able to contribute at 100 percent during their upcoming tour to South Africa.

"We gave James plenty of time but ultimately we've chosen to take a safe approach so that he doesn't take any further damage which could see him miss our flight to South Africa on Sunday morning," McKenzie said. "It is always disappointing when you lose your captain, but Ed has stepped up with every opportunity he has been given this season and he will do a good job for us against the Sharks.

"In terms of Ben Tapuai, he has played all but 51 minutes of our season to date, so we thought it would be a good chance to mix things up and name Anthony at a position he also has a lot of experience at and give Chris a go."

The Reds will be aiming to beat the Sharks for the first time in the McKenzie era, while Friday's match will also represent an opportunity to reverse two disappointing results against the South Africans last year, including a qualifying final loss at Suncorp Stadium.

"The Sharks are battling a few injuries but they are still stacked with talent across the park, including having a number of Springboks on their bench," McKenzie said. "It's going to be a huge game and we're also cognisant of the importance of getting an outcome before we get on the plane to South Africa."

Greg Holmes will be presented with his 100th cap in an on-field ceremony after the match. He is set to become the first centurion since John Roe reached the 100-game mark against the Brumbies in 2008 and will join Dan Crowley (124 games) and Stan Pilecki (122 games) as the third prop in Queensland Rugby history to reach the honour.

Queensland Reds: Jono Lance; Rod Davies, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Anthony Faingaa, Digby Ioane; Quade Cooper, Will Genia (captain); Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Eddie Quirk; Ed O'Donoghue, Rob Simmons; James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes. Replacements: James Hanson, Albert Anae, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Beau Robinson, Jarrad Butler, Ben Lucas, Ben Tapuai.

© ESPN Australia / New Zealand

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