Reds suffer early blow for South African Super 14 leg


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The Reds tough Super 14 start has been made a little tougher with the news that key recruit Ezra Taylor has been ruled out of the Reds’ tour of South Africa.

The former Highlander Taylor will miss both of the Reds opening Super 14 matches against the Bulls and Stormers after undergoing ankle surgery this week.

Twenty five year old Taylor who plays lock and flank had a floating piece of bone cleaned out after having an arthroscope which will prevent him from full training for five weeks.

Reds coach Phil Mooney said that Taylor would aim to return to action in the round three home match against the Cheetahs on March 1 at Suncorp Stadium.

“Ezra hurt his ankle before Christmas and we were hopeful that it would come good but it’s continued to be a problem,” Mooney told AAP on Thursday.

“It’s a setback but he’ll work hard to get back for us and should still be on deck early in the season.”

The Reds were able to sneak under the guard of the New Zealand Rugby Union and his Otago province to sign the Brisbane-born powerful forward who holds dual nationality.

“Ezra’s a massive bloke, and he really gives us some good variety,” Mooney admitted. “With both him and Hugh McMeniman able to play lock or back-row it gave us flexibility with selections.

“Hughie at lock’s not a bad thing, he played there as recently as the Spring Tour for the Wallabies.”

Increasing the pain for Taylor, who prefers to play at No.8, he had just returned to full training following a knee reconstruction after rupturing his patella tendon 12 months ago.

“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “I got to the end of my rehab with my knee and then this happens.

“Before this I was extremely excited about the season. It’s a young bunch of guys at the Reds and a new positive culture.”

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