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Crusaders v Reds: Teams
At Christchurch Stadium, Sunday May 6, kick-off 5.10am
Reds twins Anthony and Saia Faingaa join forces for the first time in 2012 after being selected for Sunday's critical Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Anthony returns to the starting team at outside centre following a dynamic 30 minute cameo in his return from a foot injury against the Blues last Friday, while brother Saia has been cleared from an ankle complaint to earn selection on the bench.
The pair's inclusion has handed the Queenslanders a major boost ahead of this rematch between the 2011 Super Rugby finalists, which the Reds won 18-13 to claim their first title.
The return of Saia comes at a crucial moment for the Reds with prop Ben Daley (hamstring) and flanker Beau Robinson (fibula) to miss the clash after sustaining minor injuries in last Friday's 23-11 win over the Blues.
Both are expected to miss just one week before returning for the Reds next home game at Suncorp Stadium against the Chiefs.
As a result prop Greg Holmes earns a call-up at loosehead prop while coach Ewen McKenzie reverts back to a more traditional back-row of Jake Schatz at blindside flanker, Liam Gill at openside flanker, and Scott Higginbotham at number eight.
In other changes Digby Ioane shifts back to the wing to make room for Anthony Faingaa in the number 13 jersey, meaning flyer Rod Davies will play an impact role from the bench.
Fan favourite Radike Samo also earns a call-up as a replacement after making a strong impact in club rugby at the weekend.
"The Faingaa's bring a lot to the team in terms of enthusiasm and communication and those are the traits you need to win big games," said McKenzie.
"Everyone understands how important and how much they enjoy playing alongside one another so we're glad to finally have them both fit and healthy again.
"We aren't expecting Ben or Beau to miss a great amount of time but for this week we'll be looking for other guys to step up in what will be a fierce battle against a Crusaders team looking for redemption from last year's final.
"It isn't often a Crusaders team loses a Super Rugby final, they are the most successful team in the competition's history, so I'm sure they are looking forward to the match in front of their home fans.
"But so are we. We have a strong record in our recent history against the Crusaders and the guys in our team are proven performers in big games. That shows the character of the group and we're looking forward to the challenge."
Crusaders team news to follow....
Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Eddie Quirk, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Rod Davies.
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|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|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|05:05||Waratahs vs Brumbies|
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
|Highlanders 20 - 13 Reds|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com