Super Rugby - Queensland Reds
Reds duo should be fit for Crusaders
July 15, 2013
Skipper James Horwill is expected back for the Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusaders © Getty Images
Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is confident skipper James Horwill and scrum-half Will Genia will both be available for Saturday's Super Rugby qualifying final against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Horwill is battling a calf niggle while Genia is carrying knee and hand injuries.
The star duo were both rested from last weekend's 14-12 win over the New South Wales Waratahs but are set to make their returns in the do-or-die clash against the seven-time champions.
"I expect Will and James Horwill will be okay by the time we get to the game," McKenzie said on Monday.
Centre Anthony Fainga'a is more doubtful as he continues to struggle with a hamstring injury, while Mike Harris (hamstring) and Rod Davies (knee) will both miss the Crusaders clash.
Fly-half Quade Cooper says he's excited to renew his combination with Genia after missing the chance to play alongside the Test No. 9 in the British & Irish Lions series.
"I'm very much looking forward having Willie back, he's an amazing player and we've played a lot of footy together so after him having a week off I'm sure he's going to be fresh," Cooper said. "He was jumping out of his skin to play on the weekend gone but I think it was good for him physically and mentally to have a break."
Cooper is expected to reclaim the No. 10 jumper for the Wallabies when McKenzie takes over as Test coach next month in the opening Bledisloe Cup encounter with New Zealand in Sydney. But Cooper played down his duel with All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter.
"Every game seems to be an audition because you've got to do a job for your club team to earn the right to get a call-up for your national side, so my sole focus is on doing a great job for my team and trying to progress us further in the finals," Cooper said.
McKenzie added of the Cooper-Carter battle: "I know the media gets excited about the head to head (contests) and I'm sure the players (think about it) somewhere in their mind, but Quade will be 100 percent focused on how we want to play the game."