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Reds reshape for rugby's Hurricane Julian

AAP
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Update:6:12PM Wallabies rookie Chris Feauai-Sautia must contain the player he hopes to emulate after being thrown into a sideline Super Rugby stoush with All Blacks star Julian Savea.

Among a string of selection surprises, Queensland coach Richard Graham has switched Feauai-Sautia onto the Reds' right wing to mark Savea in Saturday's must-win clash with the Hurricanes.

Graham has dropped Rod Davies for botching a number of try-scoring chances while the raw-boned Dom Shipperley has failed to recover fully from a hip problem.

Instead of exposing one-gamer Jamie-Jerry Taulagi against the in-form Savea, Feauai-Sautia's 95kg frame will be tested against the Jonah Lomu-like game-breaker in Wellington.

"I think that will be a good opportunity for Chris and I know it's something he's relishing," Graham said. "It will be a good physical contest on that side.

"Chris loves challenges and is a very competitive guy and he certainly won't be overawed."

The 20-year-old played two Tests on the wing late last season but has shown his best glimpses for Queensland at outside centre, giving the Reds the line-bending power they have missed without Digby Ioane.

Ben Tapuai's return to form means he keeps the No.13 jersey for his 50th Super Rugby match, but centre partner Anthony Fainga'a has felt the axe with Mike Harris (achilles) making his return.

Harris, opposing the explosive Alapati Leuia, also has a huge task leading the Reds' defensive line against the competition's best attacking team.

Queensland's biggest shock was the rushed starting return of aggressive prop Ben Daley to a reshaped front-row following five weeks out with a knee injury.

Graham likes the former Wallaby's rugged enthusiasm and expects him to set the tone along with 100-game captain James Horwill.

The 12th-placed Reds are keyed up to end a 16-year drought in Wellington to keep in playoff contention.

Reds: Ben Lucas, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, Anthony Fainga'a, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Jake Schatz, Beau Robinson, Eddie Quirk, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Saia Fainga'a, Ben Daley. Res: James Hanson, Greg Holmes, Jono Owen, Ed O'Donoghue, Curtis Browning, Nick Frisby, Anthony Fainga'a, Rod Davies.





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