New Zealand vs Tonga

Horwill to keep Reds reins

Tue, 03 Dec 2013 07:08
Large jameshorwillredstraining

Despite being axed as Wallabies skipper, James Horwill will not reliquish captaincy of the Reds according to coach Richard Graham.

Despite being axed as Wallabies skipper, James Horwill will not reliquish captaincy of the Reds according to coach Richard Graham.

The experienced lock was replaced as Wallabies captain by the Brumbies' Ben Mowen ahead of Australia's year-end tour, and it proved to be a good call from national coach Ewen McKenzie as his team won their last four matches in Europe with Horwill finding some good form.

However, Graham, who has replaced McKenzie as Reds coach, believes that Horwill is still the man to lead the way when Super Rugby gets underway next year.

He said that Horwill's improved form in Europe was not down to having the burden of the captaincy lifted off him and made it clear that the big lock will be the man in charge next year.

"Horwill has captained the team very well. There is no reason in my mind to change the captaincy. I don't think necessarily taking the captaincy off him was the catalyst.

"James and Ewen would have discussed it and given great thought about it but it was fantastic to see him play well," he told AAP.

Another decision that paid off for McKenzie was making flyhalf Quade Cooper Wallabies vice captain, as he responded well to the responsibility and also found some good form in Europe.

Graham said that whilst Cooper will continue to play a leadership role with the Reds, he was not tempted to give him the captain's armband.

"Quade has been outstanding on this tour. He is confident and when he is you see the full array of skills that he has got - I think that makes us a better team.

"Quade has been a leader here for the last three or four years by the nature of his position," he said.

The Reds will return to their 'spiritual home' of Ballymore Stadium in February  to face Australian rivals Melbourne Rebels in a Super Rugby trial match.

Graham said the fixture would provide key match experience for his team only a week out from the Super Rugby regular season.  

"The match against the Rebels will be another key component of our preparation," Graham said.

"It will follow on from what should be a high-quality game against the Chiefs, in Toowoomba, and will be our last hit out before the Super Rugby season kicks off.

"It's exciting to be able to see elite rugby at Ballymore, the spiritual home of our game in Queensland," he added.

The trial against the Chiefs in Toowoomba the week prior, on February 8, kicks off at 6.30pm and includes a curtain raiser at 4.30pm, featuring the Darling Downs representative team.

The Reds' regular season starts February 22, with clashes on the road to the Brumbies and the Waratahs, before their first match at Suncorp Stadium against the Cheetahs on Friday March 7.

New Zealand vs Tonga
sast: 21h00 | local: 23h00

  • 14 | 3
Sat, 10 October 2015
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 12h00 Bloemfontein
Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Golden Lions v Griquas 14h00 Ellis Park
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Fri, 16 October 2015
Blue Bulls v Western Province 17h00 Pretoria
Fri, 09 October 2015
Western Province v EP Kings 45 | 14
Pumas v Blue Bulls 24 | 25
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
South Africa v Scotland 34 | 16
Samoa v Japan 5 | 26
Leinster v Dragons 37 | 13
Griquas v Sharks 20 | 45
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26