Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Friday 7.40pm (AEST)Last meeting: Qualifying Finals 2012 – Sharks 30 bt Reds 17 at Suncorp StadiumHead-to-head: Played 18 Reds 10 Sharks 8In Brisbane: Played 9 Reds 6 Sharks 3Referee: Glen Jackson (NZL)TV: Live, FoxSports 1TAB Sportsbet: Reds $1.36 Sharks $3
Steve Samuelson writes: The Reds will be without skipper James Horwill (head knock) and are vulnerable after four tough matches in succession. The Sharks have beaten the Reds in six of their past seven games, including last year’s semi-final in Brisbane.
AAP writes: This is the last box to be ticked for the Reds under Ewen McKenzie and many would say they’ll never have a better chance to beat their hoodoo team. The Sharks are riddled by injuries with a dozen players sidelined after centre Frans Steyn and No.8 Lubabalo Mtembu became the latest to join the casualty list. Added to that, they come off four straight losses but Queensland certainly aren’t taking them for granted with three Boks on their bench. The Reds will also be without captain James Horwill (head knock) in a big loss.
Ewen McKenzie has reshuffled his backline, with Chris Feauai-Sautia playing in the centres, seeking extra punch after they scored just one try in the past two games. The Sharks have made their own interesting call at No.13 with JP Pietersen to start there.
REDS: Jonathan Lance, Rod Davies, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Anthony Faingaa, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia (capt), Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, Ed O’Donoghue, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes. Reserves: James Hanson, Albert Anae, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Jarrad Butler, Beau Robinson, Ben Lucas, Ben Tapuai.
SHARKS: Riaan Viljoen, Piet Lindeque, JP Pietersen, Meyer Bosman, Lwazi Mvovo, Patrick Lambie, Charl McLeod, Keegan Daniel (capt), Jean Deysel, Marcell Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Wiehahn Herbst, Kyle Cooper, JC Janse van Rensburg. Reserves: Monde Hadebe, Jannie du Plessis, Anton Bresler, Derick Minnie, Willem Alberts, Tian Meyer, Odwa Ndungane.