Highlanders change three for Queensland clash

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 16:04 29/05/2014
Jamie Joseph
Getty Images
MAKING CHANGES: Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph.

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Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has made three changes to his forward pack for tomorrow night's game against the Reds in Brisbane.

Hooker Liam Coltman, who missed the narrow loss to the Crusaders last week with a calf injury, has returned and taken over from Ged Robinson, who moves to the bench.

Ma'afu Fia will start on the tighthead side, with Chris King moving to the bench, while Elliot Dixon has also been benched in favour of Gareth Evans.

The backline remains the same.

While Wallabies halfback Will Genia will become the 29th player to reach 100 games for Queensland when he takes to the field, the injury-struck Reds have suffered further setbacks this week.

Hooker Saia Fainga'a (calf) and props Jono Owen (back) and Ben Daley (thumb) are unavailable for selection due to injuries picked up during their last match. Flanker Eddie Quirk was a late withdrawal from consideration after rupturing his knee at training during the week.

In the backs, first-five Quade Cooper (shoulder) and wing/centre Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder) are out for the remainder of the season, while back three options Lachie Turner (ankle) and Aidan Toua (pectoral) are not expected to return from their lengthy injury layoffs until after the June test window.

Prop James Slipper returns to the starting lineup following a three-week suspension for a lifting tackle. Slipper will slot straight into loosehead in place of Daley.

Reds coach Richard Graham has made two changes to the starting backline, with Ben Lucas coming in for Cooper and Rod Davies returning to the XV to replace Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, who moves to the bench.

The Reds' reserves bench sees the potential for three young players to make their debuts, with hooker Andrew Ready, prop Sef Faagase and centre Samu Kerevi all named.

Liam Gill also returns for the Reds after recovering from a calf injury that ruled him out of the past two games.

HIGHLANDERS: Ben Smith, Richard Buckman, Malakai Fekitoa, Shaun Treeby, Patrick Osborne, Lima Sopoaga, Aaron Smith, Nasi Manu, Shane Christie, Gareth Evans, Joe Wheeler, Jarrad Hoeata, Ma'afu Fia, Liam Coltman, Kane Hames. Reserves; Ged Robinson, Matias Diaz, Chris King, Tom Franklin, Elliot Dixon, Fumiaki Tanaka, Hayden Parker, Phil Burleigh.

QUEENSLAND REDS: Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley, Ben Tapuai, Anthony Fainga'a, Rod Davies, Ben Lucas, Will Genia, Jake Schatz, Beau Robinson, Curtis Browning, James Horwill (captain), Rob Simmons, Greg Holmes, James Hanson, James Slipper. Reserves; Andrew Ready, Albert Anae, Sef Faagase, Dave McDuling, Liam Gill, Nick Frisby, Samu Kerevi, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi. 

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- The Southland Times

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