RED ALERT: James Horwill says the team can bounce back tonight.
RED ALERT: James Horwill says the team can bounce back tonight. Gettyimages

Horwill targets Beau to step up

QUEENSLAND Reds captain James Horwill admits the loss of flanker Liam Gill for tonight's crunch Super Rugby match against the Stormers at Suncorp Stadium is a massive one.

But the enthusiastic back-rower threw his support behind Beau Robinson to provide adequate cover.

Gill (hamstring) will be joined on the sidelines by dynamic backs Aidan Toua and Chris Feauai-Sautia.

The Reds could have used Gill's hunger for work up front in a game they will be desperate to win, after back-to-back losses in South Africa to the Sharks and Lions.

"Liam's obviously been fantastic for us and has been one of our most consistent players all year,'' Horwill said. "It's disappointing to lose him to an injury, but we're lucky we've got a guy like Beau who's very seasoned at this level.

"He's played a lot of Super Rugby and will be suited well to playing a game like this.''

Horwill said Robinson can use tonight's game as another chance to enhance his 80-minute qualities.

"I think Beau has been excellent in both games that he's come on,'' Horwill said of the Wallabies representative. "He made a real spark and has made a push for that starting role because he brings that abrasiveness and energy to a team. He's excited for his first start.''

Horwill chose not to go into detail when asked if there were any mental demons following two-straight losses, coming into a clash against another South African team tonight.

"It's never nice having back-to-back losses and every time you lose you want to turn it around,'' he said.

"We've put performances in that, as a team we're not happy with and we need to turn that around.

"There's no better time than to do that this weekend at home in front of a very good Stormers team.''

Horwill said the Stormers, despite registering just one win this season, will be difficult to beat.

"Like any South African side they're very good up front, they've got a good forward pack with big runners,'' he said.

"They'll make sure they'll be testing us there, and then they've got some good finishers on the edges.

"Guys like Gio Aplon, who is probably one of the quickest in the comp. He's a very good finisher, very slippery.

"So we've got to make sure we're watching him, because he's a guy that can really break a game open.''

Meanwhile, superstar Waratahs fullback Israel Folau (throat) won't play away against the Sharks tonight, but should return against the Stormers in Cape Town next Saturday night.



Tonight, at Suncorp Stadium, 6.30pm (AEST)