Reds player Stephen Moore passes to James Slipper in round one of Super Rugby against the Sharks.
Reds player Stephen Moore passes to James Slipper in round one of Super Rugby against the Sharks. DAVE HUNT

No let-up for struggling Reds

RUGBY UNION: The Queensland Reds are happy to be home after a torrid time away.

But they are bracing for the visiting Hurricanes, the reigning Super Rugby champions who will not make it easy for them at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

The Reds were beaten by the Lions in Johannesburg in round four and then the Jaguares in Buenos Aires last week to follow on from losses to the Force and Crusaders on Australian soil.

But it's not only their 1-4 win-loss record that looks ugly, but also their list of unavailable players.

Captain James Slipper has been ruled out for the season with an Achilles injury and promising lock is Izack Rodda sidelined with ankle complaint, while five-eighth Quade Cooper still faces another two weeks out due to suspension.

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, while reluctant to lead the Reds as well, has taken over as skipper with Slipper out of action.

"I've just come in and tried to do the best I can for the team and probably use the other leaders in the team as well to drive the messages through the group and help everyone get better," Moore said.

"It's pretty important the group stays tight through this period.

"It's been very tough for us, probably starting with that Force game over in Perth (in round two) that we were really disappointed (with).

"Then in the last few weeks we haven't got the result.

"We've just got to keep that belief in the group that we can go out and play well and stick to how we want to play."

Moore said minimising the number of turnovers would be crucial against the Hurricanes.

"There's no secret - they're very good off turnovers," Moore said. "The less turnovers you have have the better for us.

"I think that's been the biggest learning in the last month - when things haven't gone well it's often been off the back of our own errors, and that's something we can work on.

"That should give the players belief."

Reds coach Nick Stiles has recalled veteran forwards George Smith and Rob Simmons for the clash.

Flanker Smith replaces Hendrik Tui in the back row after playing 20 minutes off the bench in last week's loss to the Jaguares despite being scheduled for a rest.

The injury to Rodda has enabled Simmons to return to the starting XV after being dropped from the squad to face the Jaguares.

Chris Kuridrani comes on to the wing in place of benched Izaia Perese.

Hurricanes captain Dane Coles has succumbed to a bruised knee and will miss the clash.

The Hurricanes have won 12 of their last 14 encounters.

News Corp Australia


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