JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Reds unleash Big Ed to counter Tahs

Starting spot ... Ed O'Donoghue of the Reds.

Starting spot ... Ed O'Donoghue of the Reds. Photo: Getty Images

"If you're going to go to a gunfight you might as well take the right weapons."

For the Queensland Reds, bracing for a forward onslaught by an imposing NSW Waratahs pack on Saturday night, journeyman Ed O'Donoghue is that weapon.

Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie used the metaphor to succinctly explain former Ireland A lock O'Donoghue's surprise selection for Saturday night's Super Rugby grudge match.

Secret weapon ... Ed O'Donoghue in action for London Wasps.

Secret weapon ... Ed O'Donoghue in action for London Wasps. Photo: Getty Images

The 30-year-old, who played 21 matches for the Reds in 2007-08 before making a name overseas, is set to bring the mongrel and starch Queensland is lacking without James Horwill and Rebels recruit Scott Higginbotham.

O'Donoghue bulked up in his four years playing with Ulster and Leinster, and his size and physicality won him the nod, ahead of Adam Wallace-Harrison, to take on NSW's monster pack.

"We're playing the Wallaby forward pack basically, and it's a massive one at that, if (prop Jeremy) Tilse comes in they have four guys over 120kg so it's a big challenge," McKenzie said.

"Ed's learned a lot in Europe. He does all the fundamentals of forward play really well. He's a very good scrummager, lineout, mauling and he runs really good lines."

It's a fairytale return for O'Donoghue whose career was set to end last year before enquiring whether McKenzie was interested in him training with the Reds College, merely as a back-up to Queensland's contracted 35-man squad.

Injuries to captain James Horwill, David McDuling and Radike Samo have since paved the way for him to follow the same path which barman flanker Beau Robinson trod in 2011.

"I'm pumped," he told AAP. "It's awesome, and I've timed it pretty well."

But O'Donoghue, to team with 50-gamer Rob Simmons in the second-row, felt it would be a full team effort of the Reds pack to nullify the bigger NSW forwards.

"The real weapon will be the coaching and the game plan," he said. "With the Reds the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

For all of the talk about a more expansive Waratahs game plan, McKenzie is prepared for counterpart Michael Cheika to take a pragmatic approach and play to their obvious strength up front where the likes of Wycliff Palu, Sitaleki Timani and Tatafu Polota-Nau thrive.

O'Donoghue is one of two Reds selection surprises, with boom youngster Chris Feauai-Sautia starting at outside centre with Anthony Faingaa unable to recover from his hand injury.

Feauai-Sautia has overcome a litany of hamstring injuries dating well back into his schoolboy days to show his flair and strength in the Reds pre-season and made an impact off the bench in the 24-6 loss to the Brumbies.

Reds teammates have nicknamed the 19-year-old "Beast Mode" and McKenzie likened him to playmaker Quade Cooper in the way he habitually makes things happen.

"They're two guys with instinct playing. They just turn up in the right spot and the ball arrives," the coach said.

"I think Quade will look forward to giving him the ball."


Related Coverage

White reveals plan to lasso Brumbies

JAKE WHITE wants to ramp up player negotiations to get ''clarity'' for the ACT Brumbies' future, and believes there will be a ''domino effect'' as he continues to put long-term faith in his squad.

McKenzie keen to test Tahs' new game plan

THE stodgy Waratahs of seasons past seem to have been put on the shelf under new coach Michael Cheika and marquee recruit Israel Folau, who it is hoped can inspire NSW to a new era of attacking rugby.

Starting role offers Tilse chance to shape match, says Baxter

IT HAS taken Jeremy Tilse seven years to earn his first start for the Waratahs, but now it has come, the Novocastrian has a rare chance to turn the match, says former Wallabies and NSW prop Al Baxter.

Foley says Waratahs ready for big game

NEW Waratahs five-eighth Bernard Foley believes NSW has done enough homework on their interstate arch rivals to hit the Reds where they're vulnerable on Saturday night.

Cheika wipes slate clean to underline threat in Reds

A SEVEN-YEAR apprenticeship with the Waratahs has finally paid off for Jeremy Tilse.

Queensland v NSW: The stats

With Queensland Rugby celebrating its 130th anniversary, Phil Lutton trawls through the archives to trace more than a century of grudge matches between the states.

Burgess return gets White over the line

A hovering former Wallaby can do wonders for contract negotiations. Brumbies halfback Nic White has told the franchise he will re-sign after a long period stalling on a new deal. News of Luke Burgess's potential return to Australian shores, coupled with Brumbies coach Jake White's publicly expressed interest in the Toulouse No.9, probably played a part in that. As for the other off-contract halfback, Melbourne's Nick Phipps, there's been no movement. Phipps was the direct beneficiary of Burgess's move to France at the end of 2011 and we hear he is still holding out for a little something more.

Rebels look to halves for Super effort

Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill expects his star halves Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps to rise to the challenge of facing the benchmark Brumbies in their Super Rugby clash on Friday night.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers