Higginbotham talk won't unsettle Reds
THE Queensland Reds have more pressing issues to tackle than rumours Wallabies backrower Scott Higginbotham may be forced to leave the club following a breakdown in negotiations over the collective bargaining agreement.
After media reports suggesting Higginbotham may be lost, Reds officials yesterday issued a blunt "it isn't true".
What they were happy to elaborate on was the crunch showdown against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Sunday.
The defending premiers line-up will include twins Anthony and Saia Faingaa for the first time this season, a major boost ahead of last year's grand final rematch.
Anthony will start at outside centre following a dynamic 30 minute cameo in his return from a foot injury against the Blues last Friday night, while Saia has been cleared from an ankle complaint and will start on the bench.
The return of Saia comes at a crucial moment for the Reds with prop Ben Daley (hamstring) and flanker Beau Robinson (fibula) to miss the clash after sustaining minor injuries in the 23-11 win over the Blues.
Coach Ewen McKenzie said, "The Faingaa's bring a lot to the team in terms of enthusiasm and communication.
Those are traits you need to win big games".
He said he wasn't expecting Daley or Robinson to miss a great amount of time, although they would appear unlikely starters in next week's crucial home clash against the high-flying Chiefs.
McKenzie said he knew the Crusaders would be looking forward to Sunday's match in front of their home fans.
"But so are we," he said.
"We have a strong record in our recent history against the Crusaders and the guys in our team are proven performers in big games."
"We're looking forward to the challenge."