March 14, 2012
Rod Davies of the Reds returns from injury to play fullback. Photo: Getty Images
Mr Price Kings Park, Durban, Sunday 2.05am (AEDT)
Last meeting: Round 8 2010: Sharks 30-28 at Kings Park, Durban
Head-to-head: Played 16, Reds 10, Sharks 6
In Durban: Played 8, Sharks 4, Reds 4
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (RSA)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet: Sharks $1.60, Reds $2.25
Greg Growden writes: Good teams win even when they’re off colour, and that’s the case with the Reds this year. They can only improve, and will have to at Super Rugby’s Hot Tub HQ in their first big test of the season. Beating the Sharks will convince many that the Reds are a great chance to defend their title.
AAP writes: Although Queensland are still unbeaten in 2012, the continued absence of injured playmaker Quade Cooper is starting to take its toll. The Reds lacked their usual attacking flair in a scrappy 11-6 triumph over the Rebels last Saturday, forcing coach Ewen McKenzie to revamp his backline ahead of the coming trip to South Africa. Ben Lucas has been called up to the key playmaker’s role, with Mike Harris shifting to inside centre and Rod Davies coming in at fullback. McKenzie has made six personnel changes all up to the run-on side, hoping the mass changes will help keep his squad fresh.
SHARKS: Riaan Viljoen, Odwa Ndungane, JP Pietersen, Tim Whitehead, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Frederic Michalak, Keegan Daniel (capt), Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, oss Skeate, Steven Sykes, Wiehahn Herbst, ismarck du Plessis, Dale Chadwick. Reserves: Craig Burden, Jannie du Plessis, Anton Bresler, Jacques Botes, Charl McLeod, Meyer Bosman, Paul Jordaan.
QUEENSLAND REDS: Rod Davies, Dom Shipperley, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Ben Lucas, Will Genia, Radike Samo, Beau Robinson, Scott Higginbotham, Van Humphries, James Horwill (capt), James Slipper, James Hanson, Greg Holmes. Reserves: Saia Faingaa, Ben Daley, Rob Simmons, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Nick Frisby, Luke Morahan.