Reds forced to shake it up in Argentina
RUGBY UNION: A new-look halves pairing is on the cards for the Reds in Buenos Aires with stout No.9 James Tuttle set to join Jake McIntyre at the controls for Sunday's first-time meeting with the dangerous Jaguares.
When top playmaker Quade Cooper was rubbed out with a three-game ban this week, there was good sense to Wallaby halfback Nick Frisby adding his experience beside young McIntyre.
Frisby has been below his best this season, pausing too long at the ruckbase before firing his pass, overdoing the box kick and lacking the sparky dashes that characterised his best games last year.
It would still be a big call to drop Frisby to go with Tuttle, 20.
Tuttle has made four solid cameos from the bench this season, scored the match-clinching try in the Reds' only win against the Sharks and has definitely provided a snappier delivery from the ruckbase than Frisby.
It may be that coach Nick Stiles elects to pair Tuttle with McIntyre because the duo have trained regularly together as the B-team behind Cooper and Frisby.
Stiles is also acutely aware that this tour to Johannesburg and Buenos Aires is a sapping round trip of more than 33,000km.
"We are the middle of a tough month of travel and games and managing our players is a big part of it to make sure we get sharp performances each time we run out," Stiles said.
"James and Jake McIntyre spent a long pre-season working side-by-side so I've got no qualms pairing them together if that's the way we decide to go."
Giant 129kg prop Daniel Tupou is certainly hungry to play. He devoured a 600g steak at lunch at the famous La Cabrera restaurant and was back for a ribeye on the bone for dinner.
"Taniela was eating it like a chop. This is a meat-eating country and he is definitely doing his bit," Stiles said.
Impressive young lock Izack Rodda is certain to return to the starting side in place of Kane Douglas now he has recovered from concussion.