Rugby: Blues hopeful Queensland game will go ahead

By Steven Holloway

Blues coach John Kirwan said he received reports this morning that the Toowoomba area in Southern Queensland where the game is scheduled is ok. Photo / Getty Images.
Blues coach John Kirwan said he received reports this morning that the Toowoomba area in Southern Queensland where the game is scheduled is ok. Photo / Getty Images.

The Blues are optimistic that their pre-season match against the Reds in Toowoomba will still go ahead on Saturday, despite the damage that ex-tropical cyclone Oswald has done to the Queensland area.

Blues coach John Kirwan said he received reports this morning that the Toowoomba area in Southern Queensland where the game is scheduled is OK, but will closely monitor the situation throughout the week.

"Our thoughts firstly go out to everyone that is struggling over there, I just hope everyone there is OK and if we have to cancel, we cancel," Kirwan said.

"We got up this morning and there was a state of emergency for Brisbane, so we just contacted them this morning and said we will do whatever you need us to do, just let us know."

Kirwan plans to take a young Blues squad to Australia on Friday, with Piri Weepu, Ali Williams, Rene Ranger, Peter Saili and Charlie Faumuina all staying behind.

"We've got a few boys that aren't quite ready to get back into the game and a few All Blacks that need some time.

"It is a good opportunity for the younger guys to take on some leadership roles."

Luke Braid will have the opportunity to captain the side, but Kirwan said he is not interested in the result, or worried about the performance.

"The Reds have been together for 12 weeks so they are ahead of us from an organisational point of view, but it's not about that.

"It's not about who wins and who loses, for us it's about clarity over roles and responsibilities and the new systems that we have in place."

Meanwhile, The Reds have named a strong 28-man trial side which boasts 11 capped Wallabies from 2012 for the match.

The squad has a solid green and gold feel to it with 11 players selected in the match having featured in last year's Wallaby Test campaign, which includes matches during the June Test window, Rugby Championship and end-of-season Spring Tour.

Headlined by mercurial playmaker Quade Cooper, the Reds starting backline is full of experience with Cooper linking with Ben Lucas in the playmaking roles; Faingaa and Ben Tapuai in the centres; Luke Morahan and Digby Ioane on the wings; and goal-kicking ace Mike Harris at fullback.

St.George Queensland Reds Trial Team v Blues in Toowoomba on Saturday 2 February

1. Albert Anae; 2. James Hanson; 3. Jono Owen; 4. Blake Enever; 5. Adam Wallace-Harrison (vc); 6. Nigel Ah Wong; 7. Eddie Quirk; 8. Radike Samo; 9. Ben Lucas; 10. Quade Cooper; 11. Digby Ioane; 12. Ben Tapuai; 13. Anthony Faingaa (c); 14. Luke Morahan; 15. Mike Harris

Replacements
Curtis Browning, Jarrad Butler, Rod Davies, Saia Faingaa, Nick Frisby, Liam Gill, Greg Holmes, Jono Lance, Tom Murday, UJ Seuteni, James Slipper, Rex Tapuai, Aidan Toua

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