Daley will be back: O'Connor

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Reds co-coach Matt O’Connor is confident Super Rugby hasn’t seen the last of prop Ben Daley, despite his latest injury setback.

Daley was today ruled out for four months, after pectoral surgery this week, replaced by Pettowa Paraka in the game.

“He was outstanding for us throughout the preseason,” he said.

“He came off the bench last week and gave us a hell of a lot so for him to be out for an extended period is incredibly disappointing for him and the group.”

It’s the nature of the game unfortunately. He’s a pretty resilient character and I’m sure he’ll come back bigger and better than ever.

The injury news might get better for the Reds in the coming weeks, with captain James Slipper joining training and Liam Gill also nearing a return.

With a bye to come after their Easter Sunday clash with the Waratahs, O’Connor said they would be more likely to return when the Reds face the Highlanders.

“We’ve got the luxury of the bye after the Waratahs game so we’ll look at that very, very carefully,” he said.

“He (Slipper) had two surgeries, a knee and a shoulder so we have to be gentle on that.

“As soon as he’s ready he’ll play.”

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has said he will be targeting Gill as a possible replacement for David Pocock in 2017, despite the 23-year-old having committed to a French Top 14 club.

O’Connor said they would have to wait and see how it all played out.

“We've missed his presence around the ball over the last couple of rounds,” he said.

“If there’s an opportunity for that to happen, we’ll have to wait and see.

“At this stage he’s made his intentions pretty clear that he wants a break from Australian Rugby and we’ll have to have that conversation down the road.”

The Reds will go into the Blues clash with an unchanged starting side and their first home game since farewelling coach Richard Graham.

Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby said the side had more clarity around it in recent weeks and were desperate to impress their fans.

“I think the difference is we’ve got better clarity across all areas of our game,” he said.

“Matty (O’Connor) is across attack and defence and he’s pretty clear cut as everyone knows and Stilesy’s the same with the breakdown and set piece.

“They’re two voices, everyone's got a lot of confidence in those two guys and it’s given us a lot of clarity across our game.

“There’s no doubt it's a focus of ours to get back to Suncorp and start building good impressions and win the respect back of fans."