Reds set to move Harris to fullback for Blues clash

Reds utility back Mike Harris looks set to be moved to fullback for this weekend’s Super Rugby match against the Blues at Eden Park in Auckland.

The Reds are looking to end a three match losing streak and replacing Ben Lucas for Harris at 15 could inject direct running and abrasive defence as Anthony Faingaa could come in at inside centre.

The Reds built much of their attack around Aidan Toua and his speed but he has been missing for the last four games due to a long-term pectoral muscle injury.

The Reds second choice fullback Lachie Turner (ankle) is also injured so they have been filling the spot with utility back Ben Lucas who at 84kg lacks the weight to punch through defences.

Faingaa was crucial to the Reds defence when they won the Super Rugby title in 2011 and his return will be a big boost for the team after their leaky second half defensive peformance against the Hurricanes.

Flanker Liam Gill took part in training in Auckland on Monday and he is an almost certain starter against the Blues as he says that his hamstring is strong enough to handle a full 80 minute match.

“I’m not quick enough to do a hammy running. It’s coping with the twists and stretches when you get hit by clean-outs when you are straddling the ball,” Gill said.

“Watching has been hard. Watching teammates lose has been even tougher, so I can’t wait to get stuck in with them.

“No matter which way you break it down this is our last-stand game.

“Almost every game we’ve been in striking distance in the last 10 minutes. We’ve sat down and talked about getting into those feelings again as that team that always believes we can win at the back end of games, stay composed and grind it out if need be.”

The surprise at the training session was halfback Will Genia and his level of mobility considering that less than 48 hours ago he was on crutches from a twisted right ankle but on Monday he was kicking and trotting around.

“You’re not sending me home,” Genia told one of the Reds staff according to the Courier Mail and he went to bed with his ankle wrapped in a cold therapy compression bandage to speed up the recovery.

“We didn’t even bother with a scan. I jammed something in the ankle but I could hop on it, which meant it wasn’t the bad one, a syndesmosis (high-ankle sprain), that could have cost me games,” Genia said.

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