Reds injured trio to miss Brumbies match

Reds Head Coach Ewen McKenzie has selected a team to travel to Canberra for Saturday night’s Super 14 match against the Brumbies that excludes three players on the cusp of recovering from injury.

Lock Van Humphries (ankle), prop Laurie Weeks (foot) and wing Rod Davies (hamstring) had all been hopeful of being fit for selection but were ruled out on medical grounds.

“They’re all desperate to get back onto the field but they’re not right,” McKenzie said.

“There’s no point in lamenting injuries. You’ve just got to look at the opportunities for the guys coming in,” McKenzie said, after naming Canberra-born tighthead prop Jack Kennedy to make his run-on debut.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate in the last six or seven weeks, we haven’t been too affected. There hasn’t been a lot of opportunities around the fringes, so this is a good chance for Jack stepping in.”

The match will also be the 50th Super Rugby appearance for former Brumbies hooker Saia Faingaa, having won 27 Super caps for the Brumbies and 22 for the Reds.

The Reds travel to Canberra never having beaten the Brumbies at home and having lost 14 of their 15 encounters, the only victory a one point 19-18 win in 1999.

However McKenzie said past records were irrelevant to the current group, which has its focus on the present and future.

“We’ve broken a couple of so-called hoodoos this year by not spending any time worrying about them and we’re approaching this game the same way, as simply the next challenge we have to overcome,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie has reverted to the familiar 4-3 split of forwards and backs on the reserves bench after going forward-heavy for the recent games against South African opponents.

Goal kicking Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper (pictured) needs just 10 points to pass 150 for the season.

With 140 points after 10 games he is currently fourth on the Reds’ individual season points scoring list behind John Eales’ 155 (in 12 games in 1996) and the 148 of Nathan Spooner (12 games in 1999) and Elton Flatley (11 games in 2002).

The Reds are currently in fourth place on the same 34 points as the Stormers and Crusaders, with the Brumbies two places and seven points behind on sixth, meaning Saturday’s result will have a big bearing on each team’s aspirations.

The Reds squad to play the Brumbies is (from fullback):

Peter Hynes, Brando Va’aulu, Will Chambers, Anthony Faingaa, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia (c), Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid (vc), Scott Higginbotham, Adam Byrnes, Rob Simmons, Jack Kennedy, Saia Faingaa, Ben Daley.

Reserves: Sean Hardman, Greg Holmes, Ezra Taylor, Jake Schatz, Ben Lucas, Ben Tapuai, Luke Morahan

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