The Queensland Reds have named an unchanged side for Saturday’s Super Rugby home clash with the Cheetahs.
Having returned from a two-week tour of South Africa earlier in the week, interim co-coaches Nick Stiles and Matt O’Connor opted to stick with the same squad that toiled to a 40-22 loss last weekend to the Stormers.
That means no room for prized rugby league recruit Caleb Timu, who had been expected to come into the team this week to beef up Queensland’s back-row stocks.
But the strong performance of No.8 Curtis Browning against the Stormers has led the Reds’ coaching staff to conclude there is no need to rush the rugby re-education of Timu, a former Australian schoolboys star who spent several years in the system of NRL club Brisbane.
Winger Junior Laloifi also keeps his place after being a late pre-match replacement last week for Chris Feauai-Sautia (ankle).
“We played well in patches in South Africa but we were disappointed not to get the results we were after,” Stiles said.
“We were able to push two good teams, away from home in hostile environments – we just need to deliver an 80-minute performance.
“The Cheetahs are a good side and we’ve had some close matches with them in recent years.
“The group’s sole focus this week has been on preparing well to deliver a performance we and our fans can we proud of.”
Reds: Karmichael Hunt, Junior Laloifi, Samu Kerevi, Anthony Fainga’a, Eto Nabuli, Jake McIntyre, Nick Frisby, Curtis Browning, Liam Gill, Hendrik Tui, Rob Simmons, Ben Matwijow, Greg Holmes, Andrew Ready, James Slipper (capt). Res: Saia Fainga’a, Sef Fa’agase, Sam Talakai, Cadeyrn Neville, Michael Gunn, James Tuttle, Duncan Paia’aua, Ayumu Goromaru.