QLD Reds name strong side for Super Rugby opener against Sharks


The Queensland Reds have named a strong side for their opening match in the 2017 Super Rugby season against the Sharks from Durban at Suncorp Stadium this Friday.

Veteran Test flanker George Smith will play his 143rd Super Rugby match and his first in Reds colours, alongside fellow recruits Stephen Moore, Scott Higginbotham and Quade Cooper, who have all been named in the starting side.

While Smith is the only ‘debutant’ in the Reds’ starting side, Markus Vanzati, Izack Rodda and Izaia Perese are in line to make their Reds and Super Rugby debuts after being named on the bench.

Reds head coach Nick Stiles said his first side for the 2017 season reflected not only the depth of the squad, but the fierce competition for spots.

“It’s pretty exciting to think in two days we’ll be back playing at Suncorp Stadium in front of our home fans,” Stiles said.

“We’ve all had this date circled in our calendars for a long time and the players and staff have worked incredibly hard to get to this point in the best possible position.

“Anyone who watched how we performed in the tens and our trial against the Rebels would know there is a lot of competition for spots in this squad.

“We’ve got a lot of seasoned campaigners, but there are also some young up-and-coming players who have earned an opportunity through their hard work and their form in pre-season.

“Now the challenge is there for us to put everything we’ve worked on into practice against the Sharks on Friday night.”

Queensland Reds side to play Sharks

James Slipper, Stephen Moore, Sam Talakai, Rob Simmons, Kane Douglas, Adam Korczyk, George Smith, Scott Higginbotham, Nick Frisby, Quade Cooper, Eto Nabuli, Duncan Paia’aua, Samu Kerevi, Chris Kuridrani, Karmichael Hunt. Reserves: Andrew Ready, Markus Vanzati, Sef Fa’agase, Izack Rodda, Hendrik Tui, James Tuttle, Jake McIntyre, Izaia Perese.