Rugby: Reds stars make solid comeback in Crusaders clash

Digby Ioane made his return after being sidelined since June with a shoulder injury. Photo / Supplied
Digby Ioane made his return after being sidelined since June with a shoulder injury. Photo / Supplied

SYDNEY - Wallabies James Horwill and Digby Ioane pleased Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie with their returns from long-term injury in a crushing rugby trial win over the Crusaders in Cairns.

The duo pulled up well after the Reds thumped the under-strength Crusaders 42-15 on Saturday.

Lock and captain Horwill was coming back after 11 months out with a knee problem while speedster Ioane had been sidelined since June with a shoulder injury. "We didn't get any injuries out of the game ... James was very happy and there were no issues with him and Digby had his usual impact on the game," McKenzie said.

Also pleasing was the return of former Melbourne Storm flyer Will Chambers, who was tried at inside centre in his comeback from the shoulder injury suffered shortly after making the Wallabies squad in June last year.

Chambers marked his return with a try for the Reds. "For Will, playing him out of position at 12 was a bit of a test for him in that sense in his first game back but it was just good to see all the guys get through it," McKenzie said.

McKenzie was not overexcited by the lopsided winning scoreline ahead of the Reds' final trial against the Brumbies in Darwin on Friday.

"You don't want to read too much into the scoreline ... it was a good hitout for both teams," he said.

Horwill in particular pleased McKenzie with a strong 70-minute hitout. "He had a good impact on the game. It was like he hadn't missed a beat."

The skipper said it was exciting to get back on the field and to come off in good shape. "I wasn't overly happy with the way I played but I was happy to come through it and happy for the win." The Reds Super Rugby season kicks off at home against the Western Force on February 20.


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