20 Mar 2012

Reds call for backline SOS

6:21 am on 20 March 2012

The Queensland Reds have had to fly in rookie reinforcements from Australia to avert a backline crisis on their Super Rugby tour of South Africa.

The injury-ravaged defending champions are still anxiously awaiting the outcome of a SANZAR judiciary hearing into game-breaking winger Digby Ioane's lifting tackle on Sharks flanker Marcell Cotzee.

Any suspension for Ioane would only compound the Reds' woes, with coach Ewen McKenzie down seven or eight backline troops following Sunday's 27-22 loss to the Sharks in Durban.

Goalkicking playmakers Ben Lucas and Mike Harris were sent home early with hamstring injuries, and with first choice five eight Quade Cooper already sidelined, McKenzie was forced to send a SOS for untried pair Joel Rapana and Nathan Eyres-Brown.

The Reds enter this weekend's contest against the Bulls as Australian conference leaders, but not having won in Pretoria since 2001.