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Reds start to resemble their former selves

There are two Faingaas and a Quade Cooper may not be far away. The Queensland Reds are beginning to resemble their former selves just time for Sunday's grand final replay against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Centre Anthony and hooker Saia Faingaa will play together for the first time this season after overcoming foot and ankle injuries, with Anthony looking to build on 30 minutes of time against the Blues last weekend.

Saia Faingaa will start on the bench, with James Hanson retaining his role in the front row.

Ben Daley (hamstring) and Beau Robinson (fibula) miss out but the Reds say that pair will only miss one week and should be available for Sunday week's home date against the Chiefs.

Greg Holmes will start at loosehead prop, with Jake Schatz at blindside flanker and Scott Higginbotham at number eight.

Other changes see Digby Ioane move back to the wing, while Rod Davies moves back to a bench that includes the patchy Radike Samo.

“The Faingaas bring a lot to the team in terms of enthusiasm and communication and those are the traits you need to win big games,” said Reds coach Ewen McKenzie.

“Everyone understands how important and how much they enjoy playing alongside one another so we're glad to finally have them both fit and healthy again.

“We aren't expecting Ben or Beau to miss a great amount of time but for this week we'll be looking for other guys to step up in what will be a fierce battle against a Crusaders team looking for redemption from last year's Final.

“It isn't often a Crusaders team loses a Super Rugby Final, they are the most successful team in the competition's history, so I'm sure they are looking forward to the match in front of their home fans.

“But so are we. We have a strong record in our recent history against the Crusaders and the guys in our team are proven performers in big games. That shows the character of the group and we're looking forward to the challenge.”

Cooper ran with the team this morning and there there is a possibility he may return as early as next week against the Chiefs and close friend, Sonny Bill Williams.

McKenzie said Cooper wouldn't make his return through club rugby but us likely to be slowly returned to Super Rugby through a role on the bench.

Reds: Luke Morahan, Dom Shipperley, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Ben Lucas, Will Genia; Scott Higginbotham, Liam Gill, Jake Schatz, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, James Hanson, Greg Holmes. Res: Saia Faingaa, Albert Anae, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Radike Samo, Eddie Quirk, Nick Frisby, Rod Davies.


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