Reds confident Kerevi can handle playmaking load

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Reds assistant coach Tony McGahan expects the new, improved passing game of Samu Kerevi to shine as he shifts to inside centre for Queensland's clash with the Bulls.

There has always been a school of thought that Kerevi's best position may in fact be inside centre despite the man himself having previously said he prefers playing at 13.

But a push from the coaching staff to try a new look centre pairing in the form of Kerevi and Chris Feauai-Sautia was one sparked by Kerevi's strides in the playmaking department, according to McGahan.

"We have a young group coming together and we are trying to find the best positions," McGahan said at Ballymore on Thursday.

"He's had a couple of weeks with Duncan and we will see where he fits.Kerevi will team up with Chris Feauai-Sautia in the centres. Photo: Getty Images"He has worked on his passing, he's keen to get the ball in hands and he's a great communicator.

"With competition we will see how he goes this week."

McGahan said Duncan Paia'aua had not done a great deal wrong and was rather a victim of circumstance, with the coaching staff eager to test the powerful centre pairing while handing Filipo Daugunu the opportunity to start.

"Chris had a really strong NRC and a really good preseason as well," McGahan said.

"He's been playing really well on the wing and Filipo, likewise.

"There is a lot of competition across the whole side - especially in the backline - and we're looking forward to seeing how Samu and Chris go together.Paia'aua has been a victim of circumstance, according to McGahan. Photo: Getty Images"It was a combination of all those things, really.

"Duncan has been playing well but we're looking for a change this week."

The Reds are searching for some added X factor in drafting Daugunu into the starting XV - a quality they have lucked with Izaia Perese sidelined until early April.

"NRC was great for him - he played really well and he was consistent," McGahan said of the Fijian flyer.

"He's been great off the bench.

"He's brought plenty of energy, enthusiasm and we're looking forward to him getting a start and seeing what he can offer.The Reds pack was a force against the Brumbies. Photo: Getty Images"He's got some real X factor and his combination with Aidan and Nabuli will be great to watch."

While the Bulls have steered down the path of the Lions in playing a more freestyle type of rugby, they will still provide a physical test up front for a Reds pack that passed the clash against the Brumbies with flying colours.

"The Brumbies was a really good game as a prelude to not only get a result against them but it sets us up for our next three opponents," McGahan said.

"The Bulls, Jaguares and then the Stormers.

"It gave us a great base to really focus on the set piece and I think what the forwards have done from week to week has been great for everyone to see."

The Reds face the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and radio.