George Smith will make his debut for the Reds on Friday night.
George Smith will make his debut for the Reds on Friday night. David Rogers

New-look Reds ready to rumble, says coach

RUGBY UNION: Queensland Reds coach Nick Stiles said his team must carry its pre-season form into the first Super Rugby clash of the seson after naming his side to face the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night.

Veteran Wallabies flanker George Smith will make his Reds debut against the South Africans.

Australian skipper Stephen Moore, Quade Cooper and Scott Higginbotham will all pull on a Reds shirt again after stints away from Brisbane.

Stiles has named Markus Vanzati, Izack Rodda and Izaia Perese on the bench, with all three in line for a Reds debut if they come on.

Stiles said his first squad showed just how much depth there was at the Reds and was also happy to see there was competition for places throughout the line-up.

"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 yesterday.

"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."

Reds squad to face the Sharks: James Slipper (C), 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

News Corp Australia


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