McMeniman to stay in Red

Rookie Reds flanker AJ Gilbert will fly to South Africa later this week as a replacement for lock Hugh McMeniman, whose injured ankle has prevented him joining the team.

McMeniman, who on Tuesday re-signed with Australian Rugby and the Reds for another two seasons, was left behind when the Reds flew out on Sunday for Cape Town to prepare for their Super 14 match against the Stormers on Saturday.

The injured second row forward stayed behind for further examination of the ankle he sprained in last weekend’s 23-13 win over the Cheetahs at Suncorp Stadium.

However the medical advice was that the odds were against him recovering in time to play in the second and final match of the Reds’ road trip, against the Bulls on May 5.

Gilbert, who has yet to win his first Super 14 cap for the Reds, will catch the first available flight to Cape Town.

* Meanwhile the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) confirmed that McMeniman had re-signed for another two years.

McMeniman’s current arrangement with the QRU and ARU expires at the end of 2007.

Queensland CEO Ken Freer said Hugh’s re-signing will be a huge boost not only to his teammates but also to his growing army of fans.

“The excitement level lifts whenever Hugh is on the field as he plays with such commitment and vigour,” said Freer.

“It was very important to us that he re-signed and we’re delighted he wants to be part of the Reds’ revolution,” he said.

Reds coach Eddie Jones says Hugh’s never-take-a-backward step attitude will continue to be an asset to the team.

“Hugh is a key member of a talented young forward pack that can really go places together if they continue to work hard,” Jones said.
Hugh, a native Queenslander, has played 19 Super 14 games for the Reds since making his debut in 2005.

He has six test caps for the Wallabies since his debut against Samoa, also in 2005, and would have won more had it not been for an unlucky run with injuries.

The ARU said it was also delighted Hugh had decided to continue his career in Australia.

“Hugh has demonstrated an aggression and toughness which fits in well with how we like to play the game at Wallabies level,” ARU General Manager, Rugby Pat Wilson said.

“It is unfortunate that at times he has experienced some inconvenient injuries.

“We are obviously hoping that Hugh recovers to play a key role for the Wallabies during the upcoming domestic test series, potentially the Rugby World Cup and beyond” he said.


365 Digital

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