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Reds make five changes for the Western Force

Liam Gill gets his second Super Rugby start in 2012

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Article Published: Wednesday 28 March 2012|

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The Reds have made five changes to the team that lost to the Bulls for their clash with the Western Force with hooker James Hanson, prop James Slipper and lock Van Humphries joining Liam Gill and Joel Rapana as the new faces.

Openside flanker Liam Gill earns his second starting opportunity of 2012 while outside back Joel Rapana will make his Queensland provincial debut at outside centre.

Coach Ewen McKenzie has also made two changes to the bench with hooker Albert Anae coming in for the injured Saia Faingaa and flanker Eddie Quirk for Radike Samo.

Gill earned his previous starting opportunity of 2012 against the Melbourne Rebels in round three while Wider Training Squad and Queensland Premier Rugby talent Rapana will make his Queensland provincial debut a week after joining the squad in South After as a replacement for the injury-struck Reds backline.

Rapana, 25, has previously featured at Super Rugby level when making his debut for the Western Force against the Hurricanes in 2010 and represented Queensland A in their final two games of the 2012 Pacific Rugby Cup tournament earlier this year.

Rapana replaces injured centre Jono Lance (broken leg) in an otherwise unchanged backline which includes vice-captain Will Genia at scrumhalf and Extended Playing Squad member Dallan Murphy at flyhalf.

"One of the main areas we are focusing on this week is being competitive at the breakdown and this has been reflected in our selection of Gill and the combination of Beau and Eddie on the bench," McKenzie said.

"A long-term injury to Jono gives Joel his opportunity and we like what we have seen from him during the short period of time he has spent with the team so far.

"Joel joined the squad in South Africa on relatively short notice but has prototypical size for an outside centre and is a strong defender, so we 're interested to see what he can bring."

McKenzie said the team was looking forward to the Force encounter after last week 's disappointing loss to the Bulls.

"The best thing about Rugby is you get to play another match a week later and it 's now an opportunity for the team to atone for the loss and move forward," he said.

"We reviewed the loss just hours after the game to ensure everyone had a unified purpose and vision about where we wanted to be this week and at this point I 've been impressed with the attitude of the group."

Centre Rapana said he was looking forward to the opportunity.

"It has all come about quickly and it 's something I never would have predicted a few weeks ago but I 'm excited about the chance and can 't wait to play on Saturday night," Rapana said.

"All the guys have been great with getting me up to speed so the weekend 's game can 't come quick enough now."

Reds

1. Ben Daley , 2. James Hanson , 3. James Slipper , 4. Van Humphries , 5. James Horwill (c) , 6. Scott Higginbotham , 7. Liam Gill , 8. Jake Schatz , 9. Will Genia (vc) , 10. Dallan Murphy , 11. Luke Morahan , 12. Ben Tapuai , 13. Joel Rapana , 14. Dom Shipperley , 15. Rod Davies

Replacements : 16. Albert Anae , 17. Greg Holmes , 18. Rob Simmons , 19. Eddie Quirk , 20. Beau Robinson , 21. Nick Frisby , 22. Nathan Eyres-Brown

 
 
 
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