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Reds selects experienced backline

Friday, February 21, 2014

BRISBANE - Rising Wallabies three-quarter Chris Feauai-Sautia has been left out of the Queensland Reds' backline for their Super Rugby opener against the Brumbies tomorrow night.

Tackle-shedding Feauai-Sautia will be on the bench at Canberra Stadium, along with defensive linchpin Anthony Fainga'a, as Ben Tapuai won the Reds' hotly-contested outside centre berth.

In a starting team featuring 12 Wallabies, the elusive Aidan Toua is the only non-Test back after beating Lachie Turner to the fullback jersey.

Waratahs recruit Turner will instead make his Super Rugby debut on the right wing while Dom Shipperley will start on the left wing, keeping Rod Davies and the versatile Feauai-Sautia out.

With four Wallabies striving for two midfield positions, it was always going to be a selection headache for new coach Richard Graham but Mike Harris's solid trial form won him the No.12 jersey beside Tapuai, who has played the bulk of his career at inside centre.

There is only one slight surprise in a settled forward pack with Wallabies prop James Slipper switched from tight-head to loose-head, where he plays Test rugby, as veteran Greg Holmes was preferred ahead of Ben Daley in the front-row.

Last year's runners-up, the Brumbies won the corresponding match in 2013 with a bruising 24-6 round one victory in Canberra, and Graham expects another rugged tussle.

Traditionally the early rounds of Super Rugby tend to be highly physical encounters," Graham said.

"Add to that the fact it is a derby and you can expect a fairly bruising opening round of the Australian conference."

Queensland: Aidan Toua, Lachie Turner, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Greg Holmes, Saia Fainga'a, James Slipper.

Res: James Hanson, Ben Daley, Jono Owen, Ed ODonoghue, Beau Robinson, Nick Frisby, Anthony Fainga'a, Chris Feauai-Sautia.

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