O’Connor starts at last for Reds

James O'Connor will finally make his Reds debut after being given the No 10 jersey for their match against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.

The former Wallaby was set to play the Force last weekend but withdrew after an ongoing knee injury flared up during the pre-match warm-up.

The Reds have received a further boost with the return of Anthony Fainga'a from a serious quadriceps-contusion he suffered in their pre-season clash against the Crusaders, joining Samu Kerevi in midfield.

A hand injury has forced James Horwill out of the travelling squad, with Dave McDuling to make his first start for the Reds at lock, while Lachie Turner retains the No 15 jersey.

Reds – 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Marco Kotze, 4 Dave McDuling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper (c).
Subs: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Tom Murday, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Sam Johnson, 23 Campbell Magnay.

Super Rugby teams (Round 3)

Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt