Blake fit, Atkinson replaces Latham



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QR Queensland Reds prop Rodney Blake is expected to be fit for Saturday’s Tooheys New Super 14 match against the Sharks in Durban after a neck injury kept him out of Friday’s match against the Cheetahs.

However it’s the lineout and backline attack that will attract the most attention at training this week after the Reds’ disappointing 10-6 loss to the Cheetahs.

Coach Jeff Miller said the Reds kicked away too much possession against the Cheetahs and failed to win enough ball at the lineouts.

“We did some things really well the other day, but we probably kicked too much ball away, and we want to work on that,” Miller said.

“Plus our lineout needs work; we let ourselves down there on quite a number of occasions.”

The Reds are resigned to being without fullback Chris Latham for the final two games of the tour as he battles a painful rib injury sustained during the Commonwealth Games sevens tournament.

Ever optimistic, Latham was still hoping to join the team in time for the final game, but the Reds made the pragmatic decision to call up utility back Tim Atkinson to join the tour for the final matches against the Sharks in Durban and Cats in Johannesburg.

“Chris is still very sore and that gives us the indications that it will probably take another couple of weeks before we can consider him to be right,” Miller said.

The only other injury worry was a shoulder knock suffered by back rower Mitchell Chapman, but Miller is hopeful he will be okay.

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