Reds change one for Lions
Reds head coach Richard Graham has made one change to his starting lineup to face the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Wallabies centre Ben Tapuai comes into the starting lineup at outside centre, following a hamstring injury to Chris Feauai-Sautia during training. Feauai-Sautia has returned to Brisbane to undergo scans.
The Lions have upset the preseason odds so far, making games at Ellis Park interesting options with bookmakers like Paddy Power.
Graham has also made two changes to his replacements bench, with Albert Anae providing cover at prop and either Anthony Fainga'a or Ben Lucas filling the final spot, with the decision to be made following training on Thursday.
Anae has been brought into the match-day 23 following a medial ligament injury to Ben Daley in last weekend's loss to the Sharks in Durban. Daley will be out for six weeks.
Graham said his team had prepared well despite the set backs and was looking forward to the contest.
"The Lions have been one of the form teams in the early rounds of Super Rugby. They are a young, energetic team who fight and scrap for everything," said Graham.
"We arrived in Johannesburg on Sunday to ensure we had a good week of preparation. Unfortunately we lost Chris yesterday, but the players have trained well and we understand the importance of this game. We have spent a large part of the week focusing on our own game and wanting to improve certain aspects around the contact areas."
The Reds and Lions have met 17 times in Super Rugby, with Queensland winning 13 of the encounters and drawing one. The Reds' record in Johannesburg against the Lions is seven wins, one loss and one draw.
The last time the Reds and Lions met was in 2012 in Brisbane, which the Reds won 34-20.
After an impressive start to the season, the Lions are actually 13/10 favourites to beat the former champions.
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Fainga'a/Ben Lucas, 23 Dom Shipperley.
Date: Saturday, March 22
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 17.00 local (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Put your money where your mouth is