The Reds backline has been decimated by injuries and suspensions so far this year so it is a welcome change to have players coming back into the squad rather than being left out. The Reds, sitting third in the Australian conference, have lost four of their past five matches and will be hoping that Ioane and Faingaa are just the tonic they need to get back in the winner's circle.
Despite the Auckland Blues running last in the competition, on paper they are a classy outfit and should provide a stern test for the Reds. The Blues midfield of All Black power runner Ma'a Nonu and speed machine Rene Ranger will ensure Ioane and co have their hands full out wide.
The Reds face a tough test not just this week but over the next few weeks as well with a three match stint against Kiwi teams the Blues, Crusaders and Chiefs. Ioane said earlier this week, "This is where it all counts, the New Zealand teams are going to be tough - it's a tough timetable but we're all looking forward to it."
Another Red that will be primed for a big game is inside centre Mike Harris. Harris was let go by the Auckland team in late 2010 and will be hoping to show the Blues hierarchy and Eden Park crowd what they are missing out on. Despite some injury trouble, Harris has been excellent for the Reds over the past couple of seasons with his silky skills and radar like goal kicking giving him a real chance for a Wallabies jumper later this year.
Adam Schoenmaker is a high school chaplain in the northern suburbs of Brisbane for three days each week and serves two days a week in his local church. Adam loves a good book, a classic album and all Queensland sporting teams.
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