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Reds could play rookie Prop at Hooker vs Force

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Article Published: Monday 27 February 2012|

Young Queensland Reds prop Albert Anae is in line to make a surprise Super Rugby debut as hooker against the Force as the Reds two specialist hookers are battling injury.

The Reds back up hooker James Hanson has joined first choice hooker Saia Faingaa on the injury list with an ankle injury he picked up in the last minute of the Reds 21-25 victory over the Waratahs.

Faingaa started running again on Monday to test his ankle syndesmosis injury while Hanson missed the session after he went for scans.

Anae is more familiar with playing loose-head prop but could be forced to wear the No.2 jersey this weekend against the Force if both Faingaa and Hanson are ruled out.

Twenty-two-year-old he Reds rookie Anae has only played a few minutes of Super Rugby and his only experience at hooker for the Reds in their pre-season trial matches against the Brumbies and Force.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie started experimenting with the former Australian under-20 frontrower as a back up hooker last year when he cut his teeth for Queensland A.

McKenzie has faith that the Wellington-born prop will be able to handle the set-piece pressure and has praised his scrummaging and line-out throwing.

"It's not ideal," McKenzie told AAP of his dilemma at hooker.

"Saia's been back training but it's not clear yet where he's up to.

"Albert Anae has had a great pre-season too so we'll see where we end up but we've got options."

On a positive note for the Reds flying winger Rod Davies has been cleared from his hamstring injury but after replacement Dom Shipperley scored the match wining try last weekend Davies will probably have to wait in line.

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