19 Mar 2012

Reds suffer Super Rugby playmaker crisis

12:43 pm on 19 March 2012

Super Rugby champions the Queensland Reds will have their depth severely tested against the Bulls in Pretoria this week as goal-kicking playmakers Ben Lucas and Mike Harris both head home early with hamstring injuries.

The pair will join the Reds number one playmaker Quade Cooper in being sidelined and are expected to be out of action for up to three weeks after going down in the tourists' 27-22 loss to the Sharks in Durban at the weekend.

Halfback Will Genia was forced to switch to five-eighth and took over the goalkicking with mixed results in that match as the Reds gave up a 17-nil lead and coach Ewen McKenzie now faces some tough selection decisions for the Bulls match.

He was been forced to go outside his regular training squad for replacements, calling up backs Joel Rapana and Nathan Eyres-Brown to join the team in South Africa.

The Reds enter their round five contest against the Bulls as leaders of the Australia Conference, with their 27-22 loss to the Sharks their first defeat of the season following earlier successes over the Waratahs, Force and Rebels.