Reds stick with backline for toughest match yet


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The Reds will stick with the same midfield combination despite it blowing hot-and-cold for what they view as their toughest match in the 2008 Super 14.

Reds coach Phil Mooney has revealed that he would give talented five-eighth Quade Cooper a chance to make up for an off day against the Lions when they play the Sharks this weekend in Durban.

Cooper was paired with Wallabies play maker Berrick Barnes for the first time this season when the Reds drew with the Lions 24 all.

“He did some good things but didn’t exhibit the same control from the week before but a midfield needs a bit of time together,” Mooney told AAP.

“It would be a bit harsh to change after one performance with Quade, Berrick and Morgan together.

“I’m prepared to give them a little bit more time to cement their combination.”

The bench will look a little different as winger Digby Ioane returns from suspension to take Brando Va’aulu’s place while Charlie Fetoai is battling with Chris Siale to be the third reserve back.

Sean Hardman has been cleared to play after x-rays confirmed that he didn’t suffer a fractured eye-socket while the Reds are also confident that captain Sam Cordingley will be able to play.

Cordingley will undergo a scan on his calf strain but the Reds have opted against immediately flying halfback Will Genia across as cover.

“The two toughest games you could play are against the Sharks in Durban or the Crusaders in Christchurch,” said Mooney.

“As we’ve got the Crusaders at home this year arguably this would be our toughest of the year.”


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