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Reds finalise starting team to face Brumbies

Ewen McKenzie has settled on his starting team for the Brumbies

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Article Published: Friday 15 February 2013|

Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie has finalised his team to play the Brumbies in their Super Rugby opening match in Canberra on Saturday.

McKenzie has chosen his starting XV specifically to play the ACT side and will inject flyer Aidan Toua at outside centre following impressive preseason form and his standout performance in the Reds number 13 jersey during a 20-13 victory over the Brumbies in 2012.

He joins vice-captain Ben Tapuai in the midfield while Dom Shipperley has won the hotly contested race for the wing position opposite Digby Ioane with goal-kicking ace Mike Harris rounding out the back-three at fullback.

Playmaker Quade Cooper also makes his return to action after missing last year's Qualifying Final loss to the Sharks through suspension and will join scrumhalf Ben Lucas in the halves.

Prop James Slipper will captain the Reds as part of a starting front-row which includes Greg Holmes at loosehead prop and Saia Faingaa at hooker.

In the absence of injured skipper James Horwill, locks Rob Simmons and Adam Wallace-Harrison will commence the game in the second-row while Reds College lock Ed O'Donoghue has earned a place on the bench.

The Reds will boast a young yet talented backrow with Wallaby Liam Gill at openside flanker, Eddie Quirk at blindside flanker and Jake Schatz packing down at the back of the scrum at No.8.

McKenzie has opted for a traditional 4-3 split on the bench with Albert Anae, James Hanson, Jarrad Butler and O'Donoghue covering the forwards and Nick Frisby, Jono Lance and Chris F'Sautia the backs.

After a standout performance in the Reds College XV's victory over the Australian Rugby Union's National Academy on Thursday night, the versatile Nigel Ah Wong has travelled with the team as their 23rd man.

"There are a lot of factors that dictate selection, including experience, but we also try to acknowledge current form," McKenzie said.

"Guys such as Aidan Toua and Eddie Quirk haven't played a lot of Super Rugby but have put their hand up during the preseason.

"We've got some very strong ideas on how we want to play the Brumbies and the entire group has understood since Monday the role they play in that. We've had a great preparation."

The Reds play their first home match of the year against arch rivals the Waratahs Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 23 February.

Queensland Reds

1. Greg Holmes, 2. Saia Faingaa , 3. James Slipper (c), 4. Adam Wallace-Harrison, 5. Rob Simmons, 6. Eddie Quirk, 7. Liam Gill, 8. Jake Schatz, 9. Ben Lucas, 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Digby Ioane, 12. Ben Tapuai (vc), 13. Aidan Toua, 14. Dom Shipperley, 15. Mike Harris

Replacements : 16. Albert Anae,17. James Hanson,18. Ed O'Donoghue,19. Jarrad Butler,20. Nick Frisby,21. Jono Lance,22. Chris F'Sautia

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