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Link keeps Brumbies guessing
February 14, 2013
Quade Cooper sits alongside Ewen McKenzie on the day he signed a new contract, Brisbane, Australia, December 7, 2012
Ewen McKenzie is playing ducks and drakes, but Quade Cooper will surely start. © Getty Images
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Ewen McKenzie has continued the niggle and mind games leading into the Reds' Super Rugby fixture opener against the Brumbies by opting against naming his starting team on Thursday.

Queensland's director of coaching instead announced a 23-man squad for the trip to Canberra in a move he conceded was designed to gain a tactical advantage by keeping an "air of mystery".

Brumbies coach Jake White on Tuesday attacked the Reds for playing mind games, and accused McKenzie of a ruse after the Reds coach ruled out captain James Horwill with an ankle injury.

But Horwill was indeed left out of the 23-man squad to show the Queensland mentor wasn't foxing.

Wallabies centre Anthony Faingaa has also been overlooked due to a hand injury.

"I don't speak with fork tongues," Ewen McKenzie said.

"We made [Horwill's unavailability] clear early on, and Jake probably read a bit too much into it than what it was,

"For those guys it is unfortunate, but we wanted to make definite decisions early so we can prepare properly. The players know what's going and we don't think there's any rush to let the Brumbies know what we're going to do, and we'll announce our team sometime tomorrow."

Queensland hold the Rod Macqueen Cup after winning both clashes with the Brumbies last season, and McKenzie is unhappy his side has been installed as underdogs for the opening round encounter.

Reds squad

Forwards: Nigel Ah Wong, Albert Anae, Jarrad Butler, Saia Faingaa, Liam Gill, James Hanson, Greg Holmes, Ed O'Donoghue, Eddie Quirk, Jake Schatz, Rob Simmons, James Slipper (captain), Adam Wallace-Harrison.

Backs: Quade Cooper, Chris F'Sautia, Nick Frisby, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Jono Lance, Ben Lucas, Dom Shipperley, Ben Tapuai (vice-captain), Aidan Toua.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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