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Reds v Lions

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday 7.40pm (AEST)
Last meeting:
Round 7, April 2, 2011: Reds 30 bt Lions 25 in Johannesburg
Played 16, Reds 12, Lions 3, Drawn 1
In Brisbane:
Played 7, Reds 5, Lions 2
Keith Brown (NZL)
Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet:
Reds $1.07 Lions $8.00

Greg Growden writes: Quade Cooper is back - so we must be close to Test time. All of the Reds big names are returning at the right time of the season, and with Cooper again in the No 10 jersey, their charge for a finals spot is now full throttle.

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AAP writes: Quade Cooper makes his long-awaited return from his knee reconstruction to ensure Suncorp Stadium will again have a 30,000-plus crowd to cheer the Reds. Cooper hasn't played since his disappointing World Cup campaign but is confident he can reproduce the skills which mesmerised opponents last Super Rugby season. The defending champions are back on a roll following their 42-27 comeback win over the Chiefs and the return of all their injured stars. Saia Faingaa and Greg Holmes come in to start in the front row while Ben Lucas moves from No.10 to fullback. The last-placed Lions were again ordinary against the Blues and must produce a complete 180 to be any chance.

REDS: Ben Lucas, Dom Shipperley, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Scott Higginbotham, Liam Gill, Jake Schatz, James Horwill (c), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes. Reserves: James Hanson, Ben Daley, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Eddie Quirk, Nick Frisby, Chris F'sautia, Luke Morahan.

LIONS: Andries Coetzee, Deon van Rensburg, Lionel Mapoe, Jaco Taute, Michael Killian, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Joshua Strauss (c), Grant Hattingh, Derrick Minnie, Ruan Botha, Franco van der Merwe, Pat Cilliers, Callie Visagie,JC Janse van Rensburg. Reserves: Martin Bezuidenhout, CJ van der Linde, Cobus Grobbelaar, Jaco Kriel, Tian Meyer, Ruan Combrinck, James Kamana.