Queensland – Reds’ caretaker coaches have
wasted little time making their mark after the sacking of Richard Graham,
dumping Japan’s World Cup fullback Ayumu Goromaru to the bench for the
beleaguered team’s Super Rugby match against Melbourne Rebels.
High-profile signing Goromaru, who scored
58 points in four matches at last year’s World Cup, missed two penalty kicks
and made little impression in his maiden start against Western Force last week,
as the Reds went down 22-6 at home.
The dismal loss at Lang Park, the team’s
second from their opening two matches, was the catalyst for Graham’s removal
and replacement by assistants Nick Stiles and Matt O’Connor.
The caretakers have restored rugby league
and Australian Rules football convert Karmichael Hunt to fullback among five
changes to the starting side, which include three run-on debutants.
Prop Ben Daley has also been demoted in
favour of prop Sef Fa’agase, with another rookie in Andrew Ready replacing
injured hooker Saia Fainga’a for the Rebels’ first home match at Melbourne
Rectangular Stadium on Saturday.
Fainga’a’s twin brother and Wallabies back
Anthony Fainga’a returns from injury to start at inside centre.
Flank Waita Setu makes his first start in
place of the demoted Curtis Browning.
“The selection panel decided to make a
few changes, first and foremost because we haven’t been getting the results
we’ve all been working for,” Stiles said in a team release.
“The side has worked hard to build
from the difficult lessons we learned last week.
“We will continue to play attacking
rugby and we’re developing that, but with that intention comes a responsibility
to look after the ball and that will be crucial against the Rebels.”