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Super Rugby: Reds v Stormers preview
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There will be plenty to play for in Super Rugby action on Saturday when the Reds face off against the Stormers at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The teams are not currently challenging for play-off positions with the Reds lying in 10th place while the Stormers are in 14th, with only their superior points difference separating them from the bottom-placed Cheetahs.
The Reds return to Brisbane after losing both their matches - to the Sharks and the Lions - on their recent tour to South Africa.
Beau Robinson will make his first start of 2014 in one of three changes by head coach Richard Graham for the Reds. Robinson, James Hanson and Dom Shipperley have been brought into the starting line-up.
The Stormers are winless after their three previous matches on their Australasian tour but despite those losses, and their position on the table, Graham expects a tough assignment from the men from the Cape: "The Stormers are a very good side.
"With the likes of (Jean) de Villiers, (Juan) De Jongh, (Gio) Aplon and (Peter) Grant in their backs, they will present a constant challenge. Their backrow has some real dynamism and will provide genuine punch in and around the contact areas."
The Stormers, who are at their best when faced with adversity, will be trying to avert a winless Australasian tour for the first time since 2009.
Backs to the wall
Allister Coetzee's side are with their backs to the wall and are desperate to finish their tour on a high note. That makes them dangerous and although they are yet to win on the road they showed glimpses of their attacking ability when chasing the game against the Brumbies last weekend.
Juan de Jongh showed his class with a well-taken try in that clash, and has been promoted to the starting line-up while another player who impressed off the bench in recent weeks, Nizaam Carr, gets his first start of the season.
De Jongh has been restored following his return from injury via the bench last weekend, whilst WP U21 star Jurie van Vuuren will make his first Super Rugby start after being named to partner Michael Rhodes at second-row.
Coetzee and his assistant coaches Robbie Fleck and Matthew Proudfoot are in the firing line for the side's woeful run of results but he feels they can end their tour on a high: "We'd dearly love to finish our tour with a victory in Brisbane."
The Capetonians have beaten the Reds 10 times in total, of which four away, which is a better record than their nine wins against the Waratahs (three away) and four against the Brumbies (one away).
Reds: 15 Turner, 14 Davies, 13 Tapuai, 12 Harris, 11 Shipperley, 10 Cooper, 9 Genia; 1 Slipper, 2 Hanson, 3 Holmes, 4 Simmons, 5 Horwill (c), 6 Quirk, 7 Robinson, 8 Schatz.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Fainga'a, 23 Ben Lucas
Stormers: 15 Aplon, 14 De Allende, 13 De Jongh, 12 De Villiers (c), 11 Tagicakibau, 10 Grant, 9 Schreuder; 1 Kitshoff, , 2 Fourie, 3 Malherbe, 4 Van Vuuren, 5 Rhodes, 6 Carr, 7 Kolisi, , 8 Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Tazz Fuzani, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Jaco Taute.
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com