Reds v Waratahs: Teams
At Suncord Stadium, Saturday July 14, kick-off 10:40am
Last Updated: 12/07/12 11:06am
Queensland Reds have been boosted by the return of Digby Ioane and Liam Gill from injury ahead of Saturday's blockbuster finale against the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.
Pacey winger Ioane has missed the past two games with a bout of pneumonia while openside flanker Gill injured his hamstring during the Reds' win over the Rebels, forcing him to miss last week's thrilling 19-13 victory over the Highlanders.
Both have been cleared to play while lock Rob Simmons and ball-scavenger Beau Robinson have also overcome injury complaints to take their place within a determined Reds squad aiming to secure a place in the Super Rugby play-offs.
The injection of Ioane and Gill are the only two changes to the starting XV while coach Ewen McKenzie has reverted back to a forward-heavy split on the bench.
McKenzie has also maintained the successful combinations used since the end of the June Test break with all but Gill and Ioane having started in their two most recent wins.
"Combinations and cohesion are critical at this stage of the season and we've got the luxury this week of maintaining the majority of the squad while also injecting some x-factor through Digby and Liam," said McKenzie.
"Their inclusion will no doubt benefit the group but I've been thoroughly impressed with the efforts of some of our more unheralded guys the past few weeks, who have been stepping up to the mark to put us into a position where we are still alive for the finals.
"We've got guys finding form and some of our unsung heroes have been delivering each week. Their finding form at the right stage of the season and that's a good sign for us heading into Saturday night.
"It's a big game anytime you play the 'Tahs and there is obviously more than just bragging rights at stake. However, the challenge is something we look forward to, especially when playing in front of our home fans."
The Reds have now won their past five Super Rugby games while a win on Saturday would extend the Waratahs current losing streak to eight matches.
The Waratahs have made one change for the trip to Brisbane with Sitaleki Timani coming in to the starting line-up in place of the injured Wycliff Palu.
Powerful lock Timani will form a Southern Districts second row alongside Kane Douglas, with Dean Mumm moving to the blindside and Dave Dennis taking over at No.8.
"Dave has been one of our form players this year and we are very confident in his all round skill set," said Foley.
"Having him play at No.8 is not new to us (he played there against the Stormers) and it allows us to pick Sita in the second row alongside Kane."
After an impressive performance last weekend, prop Paddy Ryan earns his second start of the season.
"Paddy's performance against the Brumbies was most pleasing for someone coming back from an extended injury and having played only two club games," said Foley.
"He is a young players who was progressing particularly well before injury and it's excellent to see him pick up where he left off."
With Sekope Kepu still unavailable due to a calf injury, Jeremy Tilse retains his place on the bench.
Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (c), 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Radike Samo, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Ben Tapuai.
Waratahs: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson (capt).
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Lopeti Timani, 19 Jono Jenkins, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Tom Carter, 22 Tom Kingston.