After a horror run with injuries, Aidan Toua hopes to revive the razzle dazzle of his schoolboy years spent playing alongside Quade Cooper in Queensland’s Super Rugby clash with the Hurricanes on Friday night.
The former Anglican Church Grammar School teammates developed a good understanding at the Australian rugby nursery which Toua says he’ll try to draw on this weekend.
“You can’t go in with any preconceived ideas (with Cooper). You just have to be off the cuff most of the time,” he said on Tuesday.
“Most of the time, I don’t think he even knows what he’s doing.”
The Suncorp Stadium clash looms as a try-scoring shootout.
Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie has picked a slick young backline loaded with attacking options to match his Kiwi rivals who posted 15 more tries than any other side last season.
With young centres Chris Feauai-Sautia and Ben Tapuai, who also played with Cooper and Toua at high school, so impressive in last week’s 25-17 win over NSW, McKenzie has give Anthony Faingaa more time to get over a hand injury.
Toua’s recall at fullback comes at the expense of superboot Mike Harris who, while far from under-performing, hasn’t convinced McKenzie he’s a better option than Toua in a game promising all-out attack.
“This is a different type of game than the last two weeks,” said McKenzie whose only other change is the inclusion of big Radike Samo off the bench.
“We want to play footy. They like to score tries and they’re very good at using the width of the field.”
Port Moresby-born Toua has overcome some serious injuries and McKenzie obviously likes what he offers the team. Toua said he hoped to have put a few tough years behind him.
“I have had a few disruptive years with two knee recos and several hammy tears last season,” he said.
“I feel I’m ready to repay the faith Ewen has shown in me.”
Because of their poor record against the Hurricanes, whom they haven’t beaten since 2007, McKenzie rates the clash highly.
The Reds might have won 22 of their past 25 games at Suncorp Stadium but their record against the free-spirited Hurricanes is an abysmal 1-9.
“We’ve worked hard over the past few seasons in overcoming numerous hoodoos and creating a history of our own,” said McKenzie.
“Friday night presents another opportunity for this group to step up and do what no other Reds team has done since 2007.”
Toua is confident the Reds can deliver for their coach.
“People are going on about how the Hurricanes have scored the most tries but pretty much every back in our team can break the line,” he said.