James Horwill cleared to lead Reds
May 17, 2013
Luke Morahan returns to make his third start of the season © Getty Images
James Horwill will return to captain Queensland Reds against the Cheetahs in Super Rugby round 14 at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday, having been cleared of the jaw injury and lingering effects of concussion that saw him miss the 32-17 victory over the Sharks last weekend.
Horwill joins fullback Luke Morahan as the only two changes to the starting line-up; Morahan replaces Jono Lance, who has been ruled out with a shoulder injury, to make his first since facing the Highlanders in round seven.
Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie opted for a forward-heavy 5-2 split on the bench for the third successive week, with prop Ben Daley reclaiming a position after missing two matches with a hamstring complaint.
"There are always a huge number of challenges both from a logistical and preparation standpoint when you travel to South Africa so we've chosen to value continuity in our selections while also rewarding players for what was a strong performance against the Sharks," McKenzie said. "You can see that in the team we have chosen this week, while the additions of James and Luke provide another dimension to how we will play the game.
"James is undoubtedly a great leader of this side and I'm confident we'll also see the best out of Luke as he will no doubt be determined to make the most of the opportunity he is being given."
The Reds have a strong record against the Cheetahs, having won their past three games and four of their six Super Rugby encounters. They need another victory in Bloemfontein to maintain the pressure on the Super Rugby-leading Brumbies and the defending champion Chiefs atop the competition ladder.
"The Cheetahs have always been renowned for their willingness to attack but this year they are doing so with a lot more confidence," McKenzie said. "They've got plenty of X-factor and they are enjoying their best season yet in Super Rugby. They're a really complicated team to prepare for, but we'll go into the match with plenty of confidence and with some excitement about tackling the challenges of touring to South Africa."
The Reds sparkled against the Sharks in round 13 (video available only in Australia)
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker