Blake to start against Chiefs
April 22, 2008
Giant Queensland Reds prop Rodney Blake has been recalled to the starting side for Saturday's Super 14 match against the Chiefs in Hamilton, while wing Digby Ioane will return from injury on the bench.
James Horwill will retain the captaincy for a second week after regular skipper Sam Cordingley lost his battle to recover from a nagging calf injury.
The 22-year old lock led the Reds to a 29-12 victory over the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium in his captaincy debut and Head Coach Phil Mooney is looking for Horwill to ride his luck for a second week.
"It's a blow for Sam, who was desperate to play, but we didn't want to risk him at this stage of the season with Wallaby selections just around the corner," Mooney said.
"And we're fortunate to have great backup at scrumhalf in Ben Lucas and Will Genia, and a standby skipper who's on a roll."
Mooney said Blake had earned his recall with a strong performance off the bench against the Force.
"Rodney brought real enthusiasm into the game in the second half on Friday night and we want him to do the same from the kickoff on Saturday. He's a big man who can draw in plenty of defenders when he plays like he did on Friday."
Mooney said wings Peter Hynes and Brando Va'aulu had earned the right to start the match ahead of Ioane, who returns from a broken finger suffered on the tour of South Africa.
Ioane comes onto the bench in place of Andrew Walker against the Chiefs who are semi-final contenders.
Saturday's match will be the 50th for Queensland by hooker Stephen Moore, who has announced his intention to leave the Reds at the end of this season.
"Stephen is a professional rugby player whose total focus will be on doing everything he can to help his team win. But at the same time I'm sure he and his team-mates will also want to make this milestone match one that Stephen can look back on with particular pride," Mooney said.
The QR Reds fly out for New Zealand on Thursday.
Queensland Reds team, v Chiefs: Clinton Schifcofske, Brando Va'aulu, Morgan Turinui, Berrick Barnes, Peter Hynes, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Leroy Houston, David Croft, John Roe, James Horwill (capt), Van Humphries, Rodney Blake, Stephen Moore, Ben Coutts. Reserves: Sean Hardman, Dayna Edwards, Ed O'Donoghue, Poutasi Luafutu, Will Genia, Charlie Fetoai, Digby Ioane.
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