Queensland coach Phil Mooney has stuck with the players thumped 50-26 by the Chiefs by naming an unchanged team for Friday night’s Super 14 clash with the Western Force.
The AAP reports that Mooney has kept the faith in his starting 15 from Saturday’s loss, making just one change to his bench with former Highlanders forward Ezra Taylor returning from injury to replace Tasi Luafutu.
Wallabies winger Peter Hynes (knee) hasn’t recovered in time from an arthroscopy, giving young wingers Blair Connor and Rod Davies chances to atone after a tough night against the destructive Chiefs back three.
“Blair and Rod have spent a lot of time with Peter Hynes this week analysing their game and getting advice from Peter, so they need to get back on the horse this week and put that into practice,” mooney said.
“I’m confident they’ll bounce back.
“You don’t become a bad player or a bad team overnight, so I’m also confident the Reds as a team will be able to give a good account of themselves in Perth.”
In-form back-rower Scott Higginbotham again narrowly missed out on a starting spot but will be given far more than the 20 minutes he received off the bench at Suncorp Stadium.
“Higgers could be considered unlucky not to have won a starting spot, as he’s definitely breathing down the other guys necks, while it’s also tough on Tasi giving his spot on the bench to Ezra,” Mooney said.
“But we felt Ezra deserves a bit more time than he’s had so far this year due to injury and that he offers a bit more physicality. This is his chance to impress against very strong opponents.”
Queensland: Mark McLinden, Blair Connor, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Rod Davies, Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas; Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Hugh McMeniman, James Horwill (capt), Van Humphries, Laurie Weeks, Sean Hardman, Ben Daley.
Res: Saia Faingaa, Jack Kennedy, Scott Higginbotham, Ezra Taylor, Brendan McKibbin, Anthony Faingaa, Charlie Fetoai.
Western Force: Drew Mitchell, Scott Staniforth, Ryan Cross, James O’Connor, Nick Cummins, Matt Giteau, Josh Valentine; Richard Brown, David Pocock, Matt Hodgson, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Tom Hockings, Ben Castle, Tai McIsaac, Pek Cowan.
Res: Luke Holmes, AJ Whalley, Sam Wykes, Tamaiti Horua, Chris O’Young, Junior Pelesasa, Haig Sare.