Reds flanker to make starting debut against Blues



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QAS Reds Academy backrower Scott Higginbotham will make his run-on debut against the Blues in Friday night’s Investec Super 14 match at Suncorp Stadium after being called up to replace the injured John Roe.

Higginbotham was called in to help bolster the QR Reds lineout after blindside flanker Roe succumbed to the shoulder injury that forced him off in the first half of Saturday’s match against the Chiefs.

Scrumhalf Sam Cordingley also failed to satisfy the medical staff that he has recovered from his calf injury and has been given another week’s rest.

Wing Digby Ioane (broken finger) proved his fitness with a powerful 40 minutes off the bench against the Chiefs and earned a starting spot ahead of Brando Va’aulu, who moves to the bench.

Tighthead prop Dayna Edwards has been rotated back into the starting side after swapping jerseys with Rodney Blake for the Chiefs match.

Wing Peter Hynes (ankle), scrumhalf Ben Lucas (knee) and reserve scrumhalf Will Genia (ankle) have all bounced back from the niggling injuries they received against the Chiefs.

Lock James Horwill again captains the side in the absence of Cordingley.

It’s the first starting appearance for Higginbotham, 21, who earned the first of his two caps as a replacement against the Bulls in Round 5, marking his arrival with a thumping tackle on Springbok speedster Bryan Habana only seconds after coming off the bench.

QR Reds Head Coach Phil Mooney said Higginbotham, an Australian Sevens player and the 2007 Reds Academy Player of the Year, will give the Reds the pace and power they’ll need to combat the expansive Blues.

‘Scott has a big pair of boots to fill (as Roe’s replacement) but we’re confident he’ll have a real dig and that’s what we need from our whole backrow against the Blues ‘ a high work rate and solid defence,’ Mooney said.

Mooney said Edwards and Ioane had both earned their starting spots with good performances off the bench against the Chiefs.

‘Dayna helped improve the scrum when he came on for Rodney (Blake) against the Chiefs and Digby just blew everyone away with his arrival in the second half, which helped give us the momentum we needed,’ Mooney said.

‘That said, Rodney seemed to lift his game when he came back off the bench as a front row replacement, so we’ll revert to using him as an impact weapon against the Blues.’

The Reds team is (from fullback): Clinton Schifcofske, Digby Ioane, Morgan Turinui, Berrick Barnes, Peter Hynes, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Leroy Houston, David Croft, Scott Higginbotham, James Horwill (c), Van Humphries, Dayna Edwards, Stephen Moore, Ben Coutts.

Reserves: Sean Hardman, Rodney Blake, Ed ODonoghue, Poutasi Luafutu, Will Genia, Charlie Fetoai, Brando Va’aulu.

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