The QR Reds will welcome back their captain Sam Cordingley for Saturday’s final South African tour match, against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, following his full recovery from a calf injury.
But the Reds received a late blow when reserve prop Rodney Blake injured an ankle at training overnight, forcing him out of the side.
Redsrugby reports that his place on the bench has been taken by Ben Coutts, in one of three changes to the reserve lineup.
Wing Brando Va’aulu comes onto the bench in place of Digby Ioane, who returned home during the week with a broken finger, while Academy scrumhalf Ben Lucas drops back to the bench to make room for Cordingley, forcing Will Genia out of the 22.
QR Reds coach Phil Mooney said the return of Cordingley after a week out would give the side a lift and the fact that he was the only change to the starting 15 showed that the coaching staff appreciated the effort shown by the team against the unbeaten Sharks, despite their 22-10 loss.
He said the team was not dwelling on the controversy over the Sharks fielding an extra player for two minutes of the match, when a replacement was allowed to run on without another player coming off.
“That’s happened now and we’re not letting it affect our preparation for what will be another tough match this weekend,” Mooney said.
The Cheetahs are still searching for their first win in the competition, despite having picked up six bonus points in seven matches – five of them for losing by seven or less.
“The Cheetahs are a far better side than their 13th place suggests and they’re going to break that duck sooner or later. We’d just prefer it was later,” Mooney said.
QR Reds team: 1. Greg Holmes, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Dayna Edwards, 4. Van Humphries, 5. James Horwill, 6. John Roe, 7. David Croft, 8. Leroy Houston, 9. Sam Cordingley (c), 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Peter Hynes, 12. Berrick Barnes, 13. Morgan Turinui, 14. Clinton Schifcofske, 15. Chris Latham.
Replacements: 16. Sean Hardman, 17. Ben Coutts, 18.Ed O’Donoghue, 19. Poutasi Luafutu, 20. Ben Lucas, 21. Charlie Fetoai, 22. Brando Va’aulu.