Ben Tapuai given second chance
March 20, 2014
Ben Tapuai is back in the No.13 jumper this weekend © Getty Images
Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham wants recalled centre Ben Tapuai to be more assertive to give the Lions' backline headaches at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Graham made just one change to the team that lost 35-20 to Super Rugby frontrunners the Sharks in Durban last weekend, with Tapuai regaining the No.13 jumper after Chris Feauai-Sautia was ruled out by a hamstring injury.
Seven-Test Wallabies back Tapuai started the season in the No.13 jersey but he was dropped after failing to make an impact in the 27-17 win over the Brumbies and 32-5 loss to NSW. Feauai-Sautia took his chance immediately with a two-try display against the Cheetahs, and he followed up with another tackle-shedding effort against the Sharks. But Feauai-Sautia has been sent home from the tour of South Africa after waking with hamstring soreness on Wednesday, a day after completing a full training session in Johannesburg, and the two-Test Wallabies back will undergo scans once he returns to Brisbane. "It doesn't look like anything major but given his history we thought it was appropriate," Graham said of the injury.
Graham expects Tapuai to make the most of his chance, saying "I want to see him be assertive in that outside channel, whether that's carrying the ball, his defence or communication".
Queensland go to Ellis Park with a 2-2 win-loss record, but they hope that victory over the fourth-placed Lions can lay a platform as they have consecutive home games against the Stormers, Western Force and the Brumbies once they return from South Africa before a mid-competition bye.
Queensland: Aidan Toua; Rod Davies, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Lachie Turner; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ed Quirk; James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons; Greg Holmes, Saia Fainga'a, James Slipper. Replacements: James Hanson, Albert Anae, Jono Owen, Ed O'Donoghue, Beau Robinson, Nick Frisby, Ben Lucas or Anthony Faingaa, Dom Shipperley.
Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round six