Centre shift for Harris

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 15 Mar 2012 at 08:15
Tagged with : , , , ,

Reds coach Ewan McKenzie has made six changes to the side that faced the Rebels last week, with competition points leader Mike Harris shifted from flyhalf to inside centre in a back line reshuffle.

Harris has been in deadly form with the boot for the Queenslanders, landing 18 successful kicks in the first three rounds for a return of 51 points. This week, though, his number 10 jersey will go to the versatile Ben Lucas. Jono Lance makes way for Lucas, dropping out of the 22 altogether, while a rotation at fullback sees Rod Davies start and Luke Morahan benched. McKenzie apparently feels that while his team has been winning, he hasn’t quite seen the sort of attacking instinct from his back line that he wants, hence the decision to try a new man at flyhalf. Regular 10 Quade Cooper is, of course, still on his way back after a serious knee injury.

There are further changes up front, with Greg Holmes and Van Humphries both coming into the starting tight five, relegating Ben Daley and Rob Simmons to the bench. The loose forward combination also sees a shake-up, with Beau Robinson (openside) and Radike Samo (number 8) coming into the starting lineup. Jake Schatz and Liam Gill, who both started last week, are on the bench this week.

The Reds have opted to continue with a 5-2 split on the bench, something that the Sharks would be wise to take note of.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald about the flyhalf switch, McKenzie said that “Ben Lucas has been training at flyhalf since the beginning of pre-season last year and has featured there in all three of our games so far. We have been pleased with the change of tempo and skills he has shown in those opportunities and feel he can offer something different against the Sharks.”

Reds: Rod Davies, Dom Shipperley, Ben Tapuai, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Ben Lucas, Will Genia, Radike Samo, Beau Robinson, Scott Higginbotham, Van Humphries, James Horwill (capt), James Slipper, James Hanson, Greg Holmes. Reserves: Saia Faingaa, Ben Daley, Rob Simmons, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Nick Frisby, Luke Morahan.


  • This is going to be a big game!

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.03.12 08:34:01 by StevieS Reply
  • That side is clearly going to try run the Sharks off the park. Wonder what Plums tactics will be. Could be interesting if it rains… is there cricket on in Durban?

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.03.12 08:40:03 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 2) : I would feel better if you removed the Sharks logo from your avatar, since your commentary suggests you clearly don’t support them

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.03.12 08:52:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : What in my comment suggests I dont support the Sharks? Yes im criticial but im also at every game shouting for them…not standing in the queue for a wors roll while the game is on! If you look at that Reds side is clear they will try play a fast paced, high tempo game. They are not going to try get into an arm wrestle with the Sharks.

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.03.12 09:18:30 by SheldonK Reply

  • Backline looks dodgy from a defensive perspective…Forwards look solid. The lineup says it all, they wanna do well up front and let the backs go crazy…this lineup won’t be so great if it rains…Lucas at 10 and Davies at 15…not gonna work for them.

    Sharks gotta take this one, its great opportunity to get a good win over the Reds.

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.03.12 09:20:51 by JJR Reply
  • The Harris shift is clearly a plan to keep him in the team once Cooper returns..

    This team had a crap kicking percentage last year and still won the Cup, now they have a 90% kicker as well..

    Going to be a good game!

  • Comment 6, posted at 15.03.12 09:39:37 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 6) : 90% kickers often get undone in Durban…just ask Morne Steyn,Carter etc… Its not the easiest ground to kick at.

  • Comment 7, posted at 15.03.12 09:48:01 by SheldonK Reply

  • That’s a decent bench the Reds have. Schatz (despite the name) is going to be a top player!

  • Comment 8, posted at 15.03.12 17:10:52 by Villie Reply
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