First crack at Qld’s contentious No.15 jersey has gone to injury-plagued Aidan Toua in Saturday night’s Super Rugby trial against the Chiefs in Toowoomba.
Waratahs recruit Lachie Turner will make his Queensland debut on the wing in a full-strength Reds outfit but he also has one eye on a Super Rugby fullback berth.
First crack at Queensland’s contentious No.15 jersey has gone to injury-plagued Aidan Toua in Saturday night’s pre-season Super Rugby trial against the Chiefs in Toowoomba.
New Reds coach Richard Graham confirmed former Wallabies flyer Turner is also set to receive time at fullback as he looks to add pace and punch to his back three attack.
Both No.15 candidates have suffered nightmare injury runs over the past two years, so first priority for both is nailing backline spots, anywhere, after being rewarded for their pre-season vigour.
“After the last couple of years I’m just excited to play footy,” Turner said.
“Fullback is something I am excited to play if given that opportunity but at the moment my sole concentration is on that first play and nailing the little things the wingers have to do.”
Toua – who has lined up fleetingly at wing, outside centre and fullback in the past three years – was also a stand-out last season for Brisbane club rugby champions Easts.
“Aidan is dynamic and very good on his feet and I’ll be interested to see how he goes in that (fullback) position,” Graham said.
With only two warm-ups scheduled before the February 22 competition opener against the Brumbies, Wallabies tourists Will Genia, Quade Cooper, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Liam Gill and Saia Faingaa are all starting but Chris Feauai-Sautia is on the bench.
A try-scorer in both his Test appearances on the wing last year, Feauai-Sautia will get time at outside centre in the second half.
Interestingly, inside centre contender Ben Tapuai will trial at No.13 from kick-off, outside No.12 rival Mike Harris, against the classy Chiefs backline.
Prop Ben Daley will start ahead of Greg Holmes in the front-row in a settled forward pack that is likely to see lock Simmons also spend time in the back-row.
Back-up five-eighth Ben Lucas suffered a pre-season injury rolling his ankle at training to miss the match, but is expected to return to play the Melbourne Rebels on Friday week.
Reds: Aidan Toua, Dom Shipperley, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Lachie Turner, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Eddie Quirk, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Saia Fainga’a, Ben Daley. Res: Greg Holmes, Albert Anae, Jono Owen, Ed O’Donoghue, Blake Enever, Dave McDuling, Curtis Browning, Nick Frisby, Chris Kuridrani, Samuela Kerevi, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Rod Davies, Jonah Placid.