Pretoria - Beset by injuries, the defending Vodacom Super Rugby champion Reds have been forced to call up a rookie flyhalf for their crunch match against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Twenty-three year old Dallan Murphy, with just one Super Rugby cap to his credit, will start at flyhalf for his team this weekend after injury ruled out Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas and Mike Harris from selection.
The injured trio are already back in Australia and the Reds decided on a “natural” flyhalf rather than playing another player out of position, as they had to do midway in the game against the Sharks when Will Genia was forced into a pivotal role because of injuries.
"Dallan has been in our system for a long time and we have every confidence in his ability to get the job done," Reds coach Ewen McKenzie told Australian television channel ABC Grandstand.
"We've played around with our options at flyhalf this year but Dallan is a natural number 10 so I'm looking forward to seeing what he can offer.''
Murphy captained the Brothers club to the Queensland Premiership and has been part of the squad since 2010.
"Its unfortunate the team has so many injuries but it is a great to get an opportunity,'' Murphy told ABC Grandstand. "I'm used to training with these guys so knowing the players like the back of your hand makes the job a lot easier.''
Murphy said he would just try and play his natural game on Saturday.
"Ewen has kept his advice pretty simple," Murphy said. "He has told me to play my own game and back my ability."
In other changes, Saia Faingaa comes back into the starting line-up as the Reds reshuffle their front row. Greg Holmes will pack down at tighthead with Ben Daley moving up from the reserves to loosehead.
Luke Morahan, who scored against the Bulls in Brisbane last year, comes in for the suspended Digby Ioane at wing, while Jono Lance’s move into the number 13 jersey means last week’s outside centre, Ben Tapuai moves to inside.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Wynand
Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Juandre
Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle,
1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16. Willie Wepener, 17.
Frik Kirsten, 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. Arno Botha, 20. Jano Vermaak,
21. Louis Fouche, 22. JJ Engelbrecht
15 Rod Davies, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Jono Lance, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Dallan Murphy, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley
Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 James Slipper, 18 Radike Samo, 19 Van Humphries, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Nathan Eyres-Brown