Reds fullback Toua to turn back rugby years
February 27, 2013
Aidan Toua's recall at fullback comes at the expense of superboot Mike Harris. © Getty Images
After a horror run with injuries, Aidan Toua hopes to revive the razzle dazzle of his schoolboy years spent playing alongside Quade Cooper in Queensland's Super Rugby clash with the Hurricanes on Friday night.
The former Anglican Church Grammar School teammates developed a good understanding at the Australian rugby nursery which Toua says he'll try to draw on this weekend.
"You can't go in with any preconceived ideas (with Cooper). You just have to be off the cuff most of the time," Toua said on Tuesday. "Most of the time, I don't think he even knows what he's doing."
The Suncorp Stadium clash looms as a try-scoring shootout. Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie has picked a slick young backline loaded with attacking options to match his Kiwi rivals who posted 15 more tries than any other side last season.
With young centres Chris Feauai-Sautia and Ben Tapuai, who also played with Cooper and Toua at high school, so impressive in last week's 25-17 win over NSW, McKenzie has given Anthony Faingaa more time to get over a hand injury.
Toua's recall at fullback comes at the expense of superboot Mike Harris who, while far from under-performing, hasn't convinced McKenzie he's a better option than Toua in a game promising all-out attack.
"This is a different type of game than the last two weeks," said McKenzie whose only other change is the inclusion of big Radike Samo off the bench. "We want to play footy. They like to score tries and they're very good at using the width of the field."
Port Moresby-born Toua has overcome some serious injuries and McKenzie obviously likes what he offers the team. Toua said he hoped to have put a few tough years behind him.
"I have had a few disruptive years with two knee recos and several hammy tears last season," Toua said. "I feel I'm ready to repay the faith Ewen has shown in me."
Because of their poor record against the Hurricanes, whom they haven't beaten since 2007, McKenzie rates the clash highly.
The Reds might have won 22 of their past 25 games at Suncorp Stadium but their record against the free-spirited Hurricanes is an abysmal 1-9.
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.