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Thread: Rebels new back line will retain its flair: Macqueen

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    Rebels new back line will retain its flair: Macqueen

    Rebels new back line will retain its flair: Macqueen

    Stathi Paxinos, March 17, 2011

    MELBOURNE Rebels coach Rod Macqueen yesterday insisted the major reshuffle of his team's back line would not disrupt the newly found continuity and attacking flair for its Super Rugby clash against Queensland tomorrow.

    The Rebels seemingly turned a corner in the narrow two-point loss to the Sharks last round when they scored four tries after managing only two in the previous three rounds. But they suffered a big blow when full-back Mark Gerrard injured his shoulder and was ruled out for up to four weeks.

    Macqueen had several options to replace Gerrard but he decided to move Julian Huxley from inside centre to full-back, where he has played for much of his career. That meant a major reshuffle of the back line, with Stirling Mortlock taking over the No. 12 jersey while winger Lachlan Mitchell moved to outside centre. Afusipa Taumoepeau has been promoted from the bench for his first start.

    Macqueen could have opted for simpler solutions, including putting bench player Luke Rooney at full-back, but he said he opted for the raft of changes prompted by moving Huxley because he wanted a ''specialist full-back'' against the Reds.

    ''We've put a lot of thought into it. It's never easy when you lose someone of the calibre of Mark Gerrard and we just feel this covers most of the issues for us,'' he said. ''When we looked at how the team would gel we thought this was probably the best option we had.''

    Open-side breakaway Michael Lipman will also miss the game after failing to recover from an ankle injury. He will be replaced by Tom Chamberlain.

    Meanwhile, the Reds sprung a surprise by dropping league convert Will Chambers. The former Storm centre will be replaced by rookie Ben Tapuai.

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    Hopefully Julian Huxley brings his hands this week and not the two left feet he had in their place last week

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