Queensland Reds playing it safe with James Horwill

QUEENSLAND captain James Horwill will be on Sunday's flight to South Africa for the Reds two-game tour of the Republic, but he won't playing against the Sharks at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium tonight.

The Wallabies captain has been ruled out of the clash after failing to recover sufficiently from a jaw knock in the first half of last week's 11-11 draw with the Western Force.

Scrumhalf Will Genia will take over the captaincy duties in Horwill's absence, while lock Ed O'Donoghue will take his place in the second row for what will be his sixth starting appearance of the season.

The fourth-placed Queenslanders have made three changes to their starting backline. Rod Davies returns to the wing in place of the injured Dom Shipperley (back) and there is also a new centre pairing of Anthony Faingaa at inside centre and Chris Feauai-Sautia at outside centre.

Faingaa will wear the number 12 jersey for the first since the Reds championship-winning campaign in 2011, while Ben Tapuai will start from the bench.

James Slipper returns to the starting line-up at tighthead prop with Greg Holmes, in his milestone 100th game for Queensland, moving back to loosehead.

Queensland director of coaching Ewen McKenzie said the decision to leave Horwill out would ensure he would be right for the games against the Cheetahs and Stormers.

"We gave James plenty of time but ultimately we've chosen to take a safe approach so that he doesn't take any further damage which could see him miss our trip to Africa," he said.

"In terms of Ben Tapuai, he has played all but 51 minutes of our season to date, so we thought it would be a good chance to mix things up and name Anthony at a position he also has a lot of experience at, and give Chris a go."

QUEENSLAND: Greg Holmes, Saia Faingaa, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Ed O'Donoghue, Eddie Quirk, Liam Gill, Jake Schatz, Will Genia (c), Quade Cooper, Digby Ioane, Anthony Faingaa, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Rod Davies, Jono Lance. Reserves: James Hanson, Albert Anae, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Jarrad Butler, Beau Robinson, Ben Lucas, Ben Tapuai.


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