Super Rugby: Reds v Crusaders preview
Last Updated: 09/05/14 2:03pm
Queensland Reds take on Canterbury Crusaders hoping to end a run of four successive defeats in Brisbane on Sunday.
Six losses from their past seven matches has left the Reds languishing at the bottom of Super Rugby's Australian conference.
Meanwhile, their opponents have gone from strength to strength in recent weeks having shrugged off a slow start to the season.
The Crusaders once again look like genuine title contenders following victories in their last four games, including a comprehensive 40-20 win over the Brumbies last week.
They have also won their last three matches on the road as they head to Suncorp Stadium.
The Reds, who were given a 30-point thrashing by the Blues in Auckland last week, have been struck by a spate of injuries to key personnel, while coach Richard Graham is feeling the pressure.
Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder), Liam Gill (calf) and Ed Quirk (ribs) are all injured while James Slipper is suspended.
But despite just three wins from 10 games this season, scrum-half Will Genia believes the Reds will be well motivated for the clash.
"Obviously it's tough times on the back of four straight losses, but you've just got to roll with it," said Genia.
"It's obviously very disappointing, but that's part of sport, there's always winners and losers.
"The match against the Crusaders is an easy one to get up for, a benchmark side for many years now, and we're obviously very motivated.
"The message to the team from guys like James, Quade and myself is to keep backing ourselves and keep working," he said.
"It's a little bit of a cliche, but in tough times you've just got to stay tight and work hard."
The Crusaders have been boosted by the return of All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, who produced a vintage display against the Brumbies last week.
Tood Blackadder has been spared some tough choices in his back row by the absence of Kieran Read and an injury to Matt Todd, which allows McCaw to return to his usual position of openside flank.
Reds: 15 Harris, 14 Shipperley, 13 Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Taulagi, 10 Cooper, 9 Genia; 1 Daley, 2 Hanson, 3 Holmes, 4 Simmons, 5 Horwill (capt), 6 Browning, 7 Robinson, 8 Schatz
Replacements:16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Anae, 18 Owen, 19 O'Donoghue, 20 McDuling, 21 Frisby, 22 Lucas, 23 Davies
Crusaders: 15 Dagg, 14 McNicholl, 13 Lee-Lo, 12 Crotty (capt), 11 Nadolo, 10 Slade, 9 Ellis; 1 Crockett, 2 Flynn, 3 Franks, 4 Romano, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Taufua, 7 McCaw, 8 Luke Whitelock.
Replacements: 16 Funnell, 17 Perry, 18 Laulala, 19 Tupou, 20 George Whitelock, 21 Heinz, 22 Bleyendaal, 23 Tuitavake
Super Rugby 2014 Round 13
The Crusaders scored four tries in 16 second-half minutes on their way to clinching a 57-29 win over the Reds.
Handre Pollard starred as the Bulls came from behind to win 28-12 against the Stormers, scoring 28 unanswered points.
Western Force kicked off their South Africa tour in style as they beat the Cheetahs 23-16 at Free State Stadium.