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Genia backs Graham

Saturday, May 10, 2014

BRISBANE - Queensland vice-captain Will Genia has given under-pressure coach Richard Graham unqualified support as the Reds fight to avoid falling into Super Rugby's wooden-spoon position.

The Wallabies' halfback on Thursday declared Graham, who made six changes to play the Crusaders, had done an outstanding job in his maiden season despite the Reds' 3-7 record.

Queensland are 13th overall and face the very real prospect of ending up dead last if they fail to snap a four-game losing streak tomorrow at Suncorp Stadium.

They would be leapfrogged if South African strugglers the Cheetahs (at home to Western Force) or the Stormers (playing the Bulls in Pretoria) win and the Reds lose.

Genia admitted the Reds were paying the price for a drop in defensive standards and "looking too far ahead" earlier in the season.

Graham, the former Force coach who impressively took charge of the Reds' defence duties last season, has found the going much tougher replacing Ewen McKenzie as Queensland boss.

But Genia indicated the new mentor had plenty of support from his playing group.

"I think Richard has done an outstanding job," he said.

"I think he's worked really hard, not just as a rugby coach but also as a mentor for the young blokes we have coming through.

"They have to learn how to train and play at this level and he's done an outstanding job with helping those guys through."

Rangy back-rower Curtis Browning is another young gun to get his first run-on start on Sunday.

Front-rowers James Hanson and Ben Daley have been promoted, Beau Robinson regains Gill's No.7 jersey, and Dom Shipperley replaces Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder) on one wing while Rod Davies has been dumped for Jamie-Jerry Taulagi on the other.

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