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Queensland Reds re-sign backline trio

  
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8/6/2012
By Reds Media Unit


The St.George Queensland Reds have locked away three critical pieces of their backline with centre Ben Tapuai and wingers Dom Shipperley and Rod Davies all re-committing to Queensland Rugby.

The retention of the young trio until the end of the 2014 significantly strengthens Queensland’s backline stocks for the future and continues the trend of Reds players pledging their long-term commitment to the organisation.

Also in the Reds backline, playmakers Will Genia and Quade Cooper recently re-signed through until the end of 2015 while Digby Ioane, Ben Lucas and Anthony Faingaa also committed their future to Queensland Rugby during the past 12 months.

All three players were influential members of Queensland’s 2012 season with Tapuai and Davies earning 10 caps each during injury-interrupted campaigns, while Shipperley featured in every minute of all 17 matches throughout the year.

The combined average age of the three rising stars is just over 22-years-old although the trio has gained much experience during the early stages of their careers, accumulating a combined 83 Super Rugby matches.

All have also been rewarded with Wallaby squad selection during the past two seasons with Tapuai and Shipperley involved in Australia’s 2012 national training setup, while Davies made his Wallabies debut against Samoa in 2011.

Tapuai and Shipperley were just two of the 14 Queensland representatives that participated in Australia’s recent training camp in Sydney ahead of the inaugural Rugby Championship.

“Despite their young age Ben, Dom and Rod have all produced amazing results in our Rugby program, so it’s extremely pleasing to retain their services heading into what will be the peak of their careers,” Reds coach Ewen McKenzie said.

“Our entire squad is voting with their feet and choosing to stay in Queensland and we’ll return a more experienced and stronger group next season from the adversity we faced in 2012.

“Our backline was ravaged by injury early in the season although Ben and Dom stepped up and were two of our most consistent and regular performers on a weekly basis.  It was unfortunate that injury eventually struck down Ben but both he and Dom both finished the season strongly and were deserved Wallaby squad members.

“Injury also hampered Rod’s season but when fit he was a huge asset to the team as he showed the ability to cover roles at both fullback and on the wing.

“He now has plenty of time to get his injuries right during the offseason and we expect him to return to his best form in 2013, where his pace and x-factor is a huge strength to our brand of Rugby.”

Tapuai, 23, was the form player within the Reds squad during the opening eight rounds of 2012 before a broken collarbone against the Stormers saw the talented centre miss all but the Reds final regular season game of the season against the Waratahs and Qualifying Final against the Sharks.

The 2011 Reds Most Improved Player of the Year winner, Tapuai displayed enough brilliance during his 10 Super Rugby caps this season to also impress Wallaby selectors, earning a call up to their second national train-on squad.

The Victorian-born talent graduated from the Reds Academy to a fulltime contract in 2011 although first made his debut in 2009, scoring a try with his first touch of the ball against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Shipperley, 21, enjoyed a breakout 2012 campaign and ended the year with eight tries, second on Queensland’s all-time Super Rugby singular season try-scorers list alongside Ben Tune and behind only Chris Latham’s 10-try effort from 2002.

The speedster racked up a number of highlight moments throughout the season, where he played in every minute of every match, including Queensland’s Qualifying Final at Suncorp Stadium against the Sharks.

Shipperley ended the season with Australian Super Rugby Try of the Year honours for his round 16 effort against the Melbourne Rebels although arguably his most remembered moment of 2012 came against the Waratahs in round one, the Nudgee College product dashing away 70-metres after the final siren to sink New South Wales 25-21 in Sydney.

Davies, 23, excelled in his opportunities at fullback to commence the 2012 season before shifting back to his customary role on the wing and will now enter the 2013 season with an impressive try-scoring strike-rate of 10 Super Rugby tries from 35 matches.

A hamstring injury ended Davies 2012 campaign, and he also recently underwent a shoulder reconstruction, but when at his best the fleet-footed winger is a dynamic finisher and the only Queensland Reds player to have scored three tries in a singular match in Super Rugby history.

Davies accomplished the feat in the Reds Super Rugby Semi-Final triumph over the Blues in 2011 and was later recognised for his standout season, where he scored five tries in 12 matches, with his Wallabies debut against Samoa in Sydney.

An Ipswich Grammar School product, who hails from Rockhampton in central Queensland, Davies was a former Greater Public Schools (GPS) 100-metre sprint champion – his pace proving a real asset under the Reds expansive approach to the game.


Dom Shipperley

Position: Wing
Height: 186cm 
Weight: 94kg 
Date of Birth: 04/01/1991 
Place of Birth: Redcliffe, Queensland
Provincial Rugby Caps: 24 
Provincial Rugby Points: 50 (10t) 
Provincial Rugby Debut: 2011 vs Hurricanes, Wellington 
Super Rugby Caps: 24 
Super Rugby Points: 50 (10t) 
Super Rugby Debut: 2011 vs Hurricanes, Wellington 


Ben Tapuai
Position: Centre
Height: 180cm 
Weight: 95kg 
Date of Birth: 19/01/1989 
Place of Birth: Brisbane 
Provincial Rugby Caps:  24 
Provincial Rugby Points:  20 (4t) 
Provincial Rugby Debut:  2009 v Crusaders, Christchurch 
Super Rugby Caps:  24 
Super Rugby Points:  20 (4t) 
Super Rugby Debut:  2009 v Crusaders, Christchurch 


Rod Davies
Position: Wing/Fullback
Height: 180cm 
Weight: 90kg 
Date of Birth: 18/05/1989 
Place of Birth: Rockhampton   
Senior Club:  University  
Provincial Rugby Caps:  35 
Provincial Rugby Points:  50 (10t) 
Provincial Rugby Debut:  March 2009 v Chiefs, Suncorp Stadium 
Super Rugby Caps:  35 
Super Rugby Points:  50 (10t) 
Super Rugby Debut:  March 2009 v Chiefs, Suncorp Stadium 
Test Rugby Caps:  1 
Test Rugby Debut:  July 2011 v Samoa, Sydney
 

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