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O’Connor : Daley will return to Super Rugby

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Reds co-coach Matt O’Connor says that he is confident prop Ben Daley will be back in Super Rugby after he was ruled out for four months.

Daley had pectoral surgery this week and as a result he has been ruled out of Super Rugby for four months.

“He was outstanding for us throughout the preseason,” said O’Connor on the ARU site.

“He came off the bench last week and gave us a hell of a lot so for him to be out for an extended period is incredibly disappointing for him and the group.”

“It’s the nature of the game unfortunately. He’s a pretty resilient character and I’m sure he’ll come back bigger and better than ever.”

The loss of Daley is a blow for the Reds but things look set to improve a little in the coming weeks for the Queenslanders as captain James Slipper is joining training and Liam Gill is also nearing a return.

The Reds have a bye after their Easter clash with the Waratahs and O’Connor said that the duo are likely to return when the Reds face the Highlanders.

“We’ve got the luxury of the bye after the Waratahs game so we’ll look at that very, very carefully,” he said.

“He (Slipper) had two surgeries, a knee and a shoulder so we have to be gentle on that.

“As soon as he’s ready he’ll play.”

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has said he will be targeting Gill as a possible replacement for David Pocock in 2017, despite the 23-year-old having committed to a French Top 14 club.

O’Connor added that they would have to wait and see how things play out.

“We’ve missed his presence around the ball over the last couple of rounds,” he said.

“If there’s an opportunity for that to happen, we’ll have to wait and see.

“At this stage he’s made his intentions pretty clear that he wants a break from Australian Rugby and we’ll have to have that conversation down the road.”

The Reds have named an unchanged starting side to face the Blues in what will be their first home game since farewelling coach Richard Graham.

Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby said the side had more clarity around it in recent weeks and were desperate to impress their fans.

“I think the difference is we’ve got better clarity across all areas of our game,” he said.

“Matty (O’Connor) is across attack and defence and he’s pretty clear cut as everyone knows and Stilesy’s the same with the breakdown and set piece.

“They’re two voices, everyone’s got a lot of confidence in those two guys and it’s given us a lot of clarity across our game.

“There’s no doubt it’s a focus of ours to get back to Suncorp and start building good impressions and win the respect back of fans.”

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