James Horwill to end injury nightmare
March 21, 2013
James Horwill has endured a 10-month injury nightmare © Getty Images
Queensland Reds and Wallabies captain James Horwill will return from injury against the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, named to play for the first time since tearing a hamstring in the 13-12 Super Rugby victory over the Brumbies in Canberra last May 26.
Horwill is among five changes made to the starting line-up that lost to Western Force, along with hooker James Hanson, flanker Jarrad Butler, winger Digby Ioane and centre Anthony Faingaa.
Hanson makes his first start of the season after impressing from the bench, while Butler replaces Liam Gill, who is expected to miss one game with a minor knee injury. Faingaa returns after a back injury saw him become a matchday withdrawal from the team that lost to the Force.
"Getting James back on the field has been a long time coming, and everyone is extremely excited to see him back after what has been a frustrating 10 months without rugby," Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie said.
"In a perfect world he would have returned sooner if not for an ankle injury he suffered in an unlucky instance at training, but he has handled every challenge thrown at him with class and is now ready to go. Unfortunately, we do lose Liam Gill for the match through injury. While we don't consider his injury severe, it's too early in the season to risk putting him out there and ultimately suffering further damage.
"Saia [Faingaa] is another that has been battling a neck issue, but he has shown us enough during the week to push his way onto the bench. Pleasingly, James Hanson has also been playing very well and he gets his chance in the starting team.
"Digby will no doubt have added motivation this week after missing the Force game while Anthony is also raring to go after being forced to withdraw from last weekend's match on the morning of the game.
"On the bench, Curtis [Browning] and Nigel [Ah Wong] have been two guys who have continued to improve at training and make the most of their opportunities in the Reds College XV's three-match program."
Queensland: Jono Lance; Chris Feauai-Sautia, Anthony Faingaa, Ben Tapuai, Digby Ioane; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Jake Schatz, Jarrad Butler, Eddie Quirk; James Horwill (captain), Ed O'Donoghue; James Slipper, James Hanson, Greg Holmes. Replacements: Saia Faingaa, Albert Anae, Rob Simmons, Curtis Browning, Nigel Ah Wong, Nick Frisby, Mike Harris.
Western Force thoroughly deserved their victory against Queensland Reds (video available only in Australia)
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