Robinson starts as Reds make three changes

The Reds have named their Super Rugby team to play the Stormers with flanker Beau Robinson making his first start as one of three changes to the starting line up.

Reds coach Richard Graham has promoted three players who were on the replacements bench against the Lions last week and promoted them into the starting team.

Robinson, James Hanson and Dom Shipperley were on the bench but start at Suncorp Stadium as the Reds look to get back to winning ways.

Robinson comes in to replace the injured Liam Gill, Hanson comes into the starting side for Saia Fainga’a and Shipperley for the injured Aidan Toua.

Shipperley will play on the wing, with Lachie Turner shifting to fullback.

Following scans earlier this week, the Reds have learned Gill (hamstring) will be out of action for six weeks and Toua (pectoral) for 10 weeks.

This is in addition to Chris Feauai-Sautia (hamstring) who will miss three weeks and Ben Daley (knee) who will miss six weeks.

“It is always disappointing to lose players for long periods, however the opportunity is there now for Beau (Robinson) and Dom (Shipperley) to contribute positively to our game,” Graham said.

“Both have been involved in every game this season. Beau brings an abrasiveness to the collision area and is excellent communicator. Dom has started in three of the games and is continuing to develop his game, particularly his involvement in the close in channels.”

The changes to the starting lineup have also necessitated some shifts to the reserves bench, with Curtis Browning in the back row and Ben Lucas being brought back into the match-day 23 as cover for the back three.

The match also sees the potential for two milestone achievements from the bench, with Saia Fainga’a chasing his 100th Super Rugby cap and Ed O’Donoghue his 50th Queensland cap.

“It is a fantastic milestone for Saia (Fainga’a). 100 Super Rugby caps is a very notable achievement,” Graham said.

“With his caps split over time with the Brumbies and Reds, I think Saia would relish the opportunity potentially next year to also notch 100 games for Queensland. He has played the majority of his professional career here and is an extremely proud Queenslander.

“Donk (Ed O’Donoghue) is in his second stint after some time in Europe. He is a great team man and the boys will celebrate his 50th cap for the Reds. It is a good example to the younger players of perseverance and commitment to achieving your goals.”

Graham said the team needed little motivation to leave Suncorp with a win on Saturday night.

“We’ve had a difficult start to the season and the team is looking forward to returning to our fortress on Saturday night,” Graham said.

“Our trip to South Africa was tough. We didn’t get the results we wanted and suffered four injuries, but we’ve returned home with a desire to get our season heading in the right direction.

“With the next three games at home, we’re going to enjoy the opportunity to play in front of our own supporters.

“The Stormers are a very good side. They have been on the road for four weeks and will want to finish their Australasian tour with a win. They have been a perennial semi-finalist and have set the standard defensively for the competition over a long period. They are now putting a lot of time into their attack and are holding the ball for long periods.

“With the likes of (Jean) de Villiers, (Juan) De Jongh, (Gio) Aplon and (Peter) Grant in their backs, they will present a constant challenge. Their backrow has some real dynamism and will provide genuine punch in and around the contact areas.” , Graham also addressed the team’s recent run of penalties.

“Four of the Australian franchises (Waratahs, Brumbies, Force, Reds) sit atop the Super Rugby penalty count,” Graham said.

“It gives a strong indication of the mentality the Australian teams are taking particularly at the defensive break

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