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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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