Reds ready to throw in teen against Crusaders
Campbell Magnay may be just 19, but Queensland Reds co-coach Matt O'Connor is confident the youngster won't be daunted about facing the Crusaders in Christchurch tonight.
Magnay got a taste of Super Rugby during the Reds' injury crisis when called in as a replacement winger last year, and showed he didn't mind roughing it with bigger bodies at the top level.
He has big boots to fill at outside centre, coming in for the destructive Samu Kerevi, who will miss at least the rest of this month with a broken hand.
"He brings youth, enthusiasm and a tough physical edge," O'Connor said.
"It's going to be physical and a tough contest for the 80 minutes, and he's shown through his training with us and the 20s that he's happy to mix it."
Chris Feauai-Sautia's (ankle) return to the starting wing position has shifted utility back Junior Laloifi to the bench.
That means Japanese superstar Ayumu Goromaru has been omitted from the Reds' bench, O'Connor explaining he needed more versatility against a Crusaders team laden with All Blacks stars.
"We just thought we'd get a bit more balance with Junior there - he covers more spots," O'Connor said.
"It's going to be a tough game and they're going to ask a lot of questions over the course of the 80 minutes."
The Reds have not beaten the seven-time champion Canterbury outfit in Christchurch since 1999, but O'Connor said most teams found it a difficult challenge.
Reds halfback Nick Frisby will earn his 50th Super Rugby cap against the Crusaders, who sit second on the New Zealand conference with just one loss in 2016.
Seizing his opportunity to finally be a regular starter at halfback, Frisby has been a star in a campaign which has yielded just two wins.
His running game was excellent in last Saturday night's 30-17 win over the Cheetahs, scoring two tries.
"At the start of the year I was focused on just controlling the side too much," he said.
"As we've developed as a combination, me and Jake (five-eighth Jake McIntyre) and the backline's got better together so my running game's come into play a bit in the last couple of weeks."
Meanwhile, the versatile Robbie Coleman will start at inside for the Brumbies in tonight's clash against the Bulls at GIO Stadium, with Matt Toomua (knee) sidelined. Captain and hooker Stephen Moore and veteran prop Ben Alexander return from injury.
ROUND 11 (home teams first): Crusaders v Reds, Brumbies v Bulls, Sunwolves v Western Force, Chiefs v Highlanders, Waratahs v Cheetahs, Sharks v Hurricanes, Kings v Blues. Byes: Argentina, Lions, Rebels, Stormers.