Higginbotham talk won't unsettle Reds

Scott Higginbotham of the Wallabies takes a lineout ball during an Australia IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 captain's run at The Trusts Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Scott Higginbotham of the Wallabies takes a lineout ball during an Australia IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 captain's run at The Trusts Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. Cameron Spencer - Getty Images

THE Queensland Reds have more pressing issues to tackle than rumours Wallabies backrower Scott Higginbotham may be forced to leave the club following a breakdown in negotiations over the collective bargaining agreement.

After media reports suggesting Higginbotham may be lost, Reds officials yesterday issued a blunt "it isn't true".

What they were happy to elaborate on was the crunch showdown against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Sunday.

The defending premiers line-up will include twins Anthony and Saia Faingaa for the first time this season, a major boost ahead of last year's grand final rematch.

Anthony will start at outside centre following a dynamic 30 minute cameo in his return from a foot injury against the Blues last Friday night, while Saia has been cleared from an ankle complaint and will start on the bench.

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 the 23-11 win over the Blues.

Coach Ewen McKenzie said, "The Faingaa's bring a lot to the team in terms of enthusiasm and communication.

Those are traits you need to win big games".

He said he wasn't expecting Daley or Robinson to miss a great amount of time, although they would appear unlikely starters in next week's crucial home clash against the high-flying Chiefs.

McKenzie said he knew the Crusaders would be looking forward to Sunday's match in front of their home fans.

"But so are we," he said.

"We have a strong record in our recent history against the Crusaders and the guys in our team are proven performers in big games."

"We're looking forward to the challenge."

Topics:  queensland reds, super 15 rugby



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