The Reds will stick with their inconsistent midfield combination against the Sharks on Saturday in what they view as their toughest match in the Super 14 season.
Reds coach Phil Mooney revealed he would give talented flyhalf Quade Cooper a chance to redeem himself after an indifferent performance against the Lions on Saturday.
Rugby 365 reported that Cooper was paired with Wallabies playmaker Berrick Barnes for the first time this year in the 24-all draw with the Lions and neither fired in Johannesburg.
Their combination with outside centre Morgan Turinui was also a far cry from the previous week when Charlie Fetoai lined up at inside centre for the injured Barnes in the 40-8 upset of the Bulls.
Mooney was disappointed with the young flyhalf’s display against the Lions but was prepared to give him another crack against the Sharks.
“He did some good things but didn’t exhibit the same control from the week before but a midfield needs a bit of time together,” Mooney told the Association of Australian Press (AAP).
“It would be a bit harsh to change after one performance with Quade [Cooper], Berrick [Barnes] and Morgan [Turinui] together.
“I’m prepared to give them a little bit more time to cement their combination,” a faithful Mooney added.
returns from suspension to take Brando Va’aulu’s place while Fetoai is battling with Chris Siale to be the third reserve back.
Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore could regain his starting place from Sean Hardman after a barnstorming performance off the bench while veteran flanker David Croft is poised to return in a tweaked loose forward combination.
Hardman has been cleared to play after x-rays confirmed he didn’t suffer a fractured eye-socket while the Reds are confident skipper Sam Cordingley should also be free to take his place.
Cordingley undergoes scans on his calf strain Tuesday but the Reds have opted against immediately flying halfback Will Genia across as cover.
Mooney rates the Sharks as their toughest opponents in the Super 14 this year.
“The two toughest games you could play are against the Sharks in Durban or the Crusaders in Christchurch,” he said.
“As we’ve got the Crusaders at home this year arguably this [the Sharks game] would be our toughest of the year,” he added.Tweet