The St.George Queensland Reds have today announced their first Super Rugby matchday squad for 2013 with 23 players travelling to Canberra tomorrow ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster round one grudge match against the ACT Brumbies.
Reds prop and 2012 Pilecki Medal winner James Slipper will captain Queensland in their 2013 season opener at Canberra Stadium, where the Reds will commence their season-long pursuit of a second Super Rugby championship in three years and third straight Australian Conference title.
The match will also be an opportunity for the Reds to build on their recent dominance over Australian Conference opposition with the Reds boasting an impressing winning record of 13 wins from 16 matches against national opposition since the beginning of 2011.
The Reds also claimed the prestigious Rod Macqueen Cup for the first time in 2012 after defeating the Brumbies in both regular season fixtures – 20-13 in round seven and 13-12 in round 14.
Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie will finalise the makeup of his starting XV on Friday.
“Historically the Reds have performed poorly against the Brumbies but we’ve worked extremely hard over the past few seasons to change the reality and last year we were able to win the Rod Macqueen Cup for the first time,” McKenzie said.
“It isn’t as though we need any more motivation, but we worked too hard to secure it to just give it up easily. The fact that we’re also going into an Australian derby against one of our biggest rivals, away from home in round one, just adds to the occasion.
“We’ve seen and heard a lot about the success of the Brumbies’ preseason and their motivation for revenge. The reality for us is on each occasion we played the Brumbies in 2012 we won. Yet still the Brumbies are the bookmakers favourite to win.
“We don’t seek to be the underdogs and we don’t like it. All we can do is go down there and build on our recent record where we’ve won the past two games.
“We chose our team specifically to play this contest. We’ve been thinking about it for a long time. The players have known since Monday who and how we are going to do it and we’re happy to reveal the composition tomorrow.”
Queensland Rugby has today also announced its line-up for tonight’s Reds College XV match with backrower Curtis Browning to captain the Queensland side against the Australian Rugby Union’s National Academy at Ballymore (kickoff 6:00pm).
Following Saturday night’s match against the Brumbies the Reds will return home for the first time in 2013 when they take on historic rivals the NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday 23 February.
St.George Queensland Reds Squad: Forwards
Nigel Ah Wong, Albert Anae, Jarrad Butler, Saia Faingaa, Liam Gill, James Hanson, Greg Holmes, Ed O’Donoghue, Eddie Quirk, Jake Schatz, Rob Simmons, James Slipper (c), Adam Wallace-Harrison
St.George Queensland Reds Squad: Backs
Quade Cooper, Chris F’Sautia, Nick Frisby, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Jono Lance, Ben Lucas, Dom Shipperley, Ben Tapuai (vc), Aidan Toua