Reds start Hunt at fullback against Bulls in Pretoria

The Reds have named a team with six changes for this weeks’s match against the Bulls in Pretoria with Karmichael Hunt at fullback and Nick Frisby at 10.

The Reds have also been able to name lock Rob Simmons in the team for the first time this season as he has recovered from a shoulder injury.

Simmons replaces James Horwill, who is serving a one-week suspension for striking. Saia Fainga’a returns to the starting side, with James Hanson moved to the bench. Injury to Jake Schatz has forced a shuffle in the back row, with Curtis Browning starting at blindside flanker and Adam Thomson shifting to Number 8.

In the backs, injury to Quade Cooper means Nick Frisby resumes the role of starting flyhalf. A recurrence of a calf injury has ruled out James O’Connor, meaning Lachie Turner shifts to the wing and Karmichael Hunt returns to the starting lineup at fullback.

Reds head coach Richard Graham said: “It’s good to have Rob (Simmons) back. It has been a frustrating injury for him. He hasn’t played a game now since late November last year. It can be difficult to put a timeline on recovery for a nerve injury, but the staff and he have worked together very well to ensure they get the process right and Rob can return confident in his body.

“Karmichael (Hunt) has trained with the team for the past few weeks and played about 20 minutes last weekend. He hasn’t said a great deal but I can tell he is really looking forward to getting into the game from the start. He is an excellent communicator and having him involved will assist Will (Genia) and Nick (Frisby) with the shape of our game.”

“James (O’Connor) has suffered another calf strain. He got through the Rebels match but after the flight he pulled up tight and sore. It is obviously not ideal given we were starting to get the playing squad back to full health but we don’t expect it’ll keep him out for a long period.”

Graham has named six forwards and two backs on the reserves bench, with Reds Elite Development Squad member Adam Korczyk a chance to make his debut.

“We have gone with a six-two split on the bench this weekend. I believe it’ll assist the way tactically we want to play the game and should give us some good run at the back end.

“Adam (Korczyk) was recently named Player of the Tournament at the National Under-20s carnival. I have been impressed with his progression through the National Rugby Championship and into training with the Reds in 2015. He is a quiet young lad but he is a strong contributor to the team around training and I like his approach. Should he get an opportunity, he’ll be the 13th debutant this season.

“Pretoria is always a fantastic challenge. The Bulls have made Loftus a fortress over the years and no Australian side has won there since 2007. That is a piece of history that the group would love to contest.

“We need to continue working collectively and the rewards will come. The squad has trained well in the early stages of the week, the intensity has been very good. We need to continue that as we get closer to the game.

“Discipline is a necessity. The Bulls have kicked the highest percentage of penalty goals and young Pollard is kicking them from anywhere and everywhere. His range at Loftus is at least 60 metres so we’ll need to be at our best around the tackle in both attack and defence.

Queensland Reds

1. James Slipper , 2. Saia Fainga’a , 3. Greg Holmes , 4. Dave McDuling , 5. Rob Simmons , 6. Curtis Browning , 7. Liam Gill , 8. Adam Thomson , 9. Will Genia , 10. Nick Frisby , 11. Chris Feauai-Sautia , 12. Anthony Fainga’a , 13. Samu Kerevi , 14. Lachie Turner , 15. Karmichael Hunt

Replacements : 16. James Hanson , 17. Ben Daley , 18. Sef Faagase , 19. Marco Kotze , 20. Tom Murday , 21. Adam Korczyk (potential debut) , 22. Ben Tapuai , 23. Chris Kuridrani

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