Rugby Union

License article

McKenzie pieces together Queensland Reds puzzle

Coach Ewen McKenzie is beginning to show his hand as the first 15 jigsaw takes shape for the Queensland Reds, with Wallaby winger Peter Hynes named at fullback for Friday night's trial against the Crusaders at Ballymore.

With last season's custodian Mark McClinden retiring in the off-season, Hynes will be given first crack at the vacant fullback position.

McKenzie has delivered on his promise to give the blond speedster a chance to nail down the gig before February 13's season-opener against the Waratahs.

Hynes has been training strongly at fullback in the pre-season and McKenzie said the signs were strong that the 27-year-old will undergo as positional renaissance in the 2010 Super 14 season.

"I think it's a strong pointer about the possibilities. Peter and I spoke before the Wallaby tour about that as an option," McKenzie said.

"We're looking at different ways we could manage our talent. He's been training there and is keen to have a go. We'll see what happens.


"Versatility is a big thing in coaching and playing these days. These days, fullbacks and wingers interchange during the game."

Hynes, who will also be vice captain to interim skipper Ben Daley, has played 73 times for his state and has appeared a number of times at fullback.

He played against the Bulls from the back last season, but was thrown into the job at short notice, promising he will deliver more this time around.

"Last year I came in as a winger and there was a last-minute decision to play me as a fullback. I think I had three or four days to prepare. I didn't get a whole lot of time there. This time I want to get as much training and game time there as possible," Hynes said.

"It's a very similar skillset - kicking, catching, running. There's a bit more controlling what's going on in defence and I think it can only help me game as a winger (for the Wallabies)"

Melbourne Storm recruit Will Chambers will be given his first Reds cap at Ballymore after missing the opening trial with a back strain.

Versatility is a big thing in coaching and playing these days. These days, fullbacks and wingers interchange during the game.

Chambers will partner Anthony Faingaa in the centres and will have two trials to press his claims for a starting spot, although he may also spend time on the wing.

All Black flanker Daniel Braid makes his comeback from an Achilles injury while Wallaby halfback Will Genia will provide a cameo off the bench, with talented understudy Richard Kingi starting the match.

Quade Cooper is still unavailable to play after being charged with burglary earlier in the year. It's unlikely he will play a trial game but may be available for the season opener if the QRU and ARU are satisfied he is fulfilling his off-field counselling commitments.

Queensland Reds Peter Hynes (vc), Luke Morahan, Will Chambers, Anthony Faingaa, Blair Connor, Ben Lucas, Richard Kingi; Scott Higginbotham, Daniel Braid, Ezra Taylor, Van Humphries, Robert Simmons, Dayna Edwards, Sean Hardman, Ben Daley (capt). Res: Saia Faingaa, James Slipper, Jack Kennedy, Adam Byrnes, Andrew Shaw, Lei Tomiki, Jake Schatz, Will Genia, Tim Walsh, Ben Tapuai, Morgan Turinui, Rod Davies, Aidan Toua.

Crusaders Jared Payne, Sean Maitland, Robert Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Kade Poki, Colin Slade, Kahn Fotualii; Thomas Waldrom, George Whitelock, Ash Parker, Sam Whitelock, Joe Wheeler, Owen Franks, Ti'i Paulo, Ben Franks. Res: Quentin MacDonald, Wyatt Crockett, Isaac Ross, Jonathan Poff, Willie Heinz, Daniel Bowden, Adam Whitelock, Tim Bateman, Matt Todd, Andrew Olorenshaw.