Smith gets Reds debut
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Veteran Wallabies flank George Smith will make his Reds debut on Friday when the Queensland side hosts the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.
Smith is no stranger to Super Rugby though, as he has amassed 142 caps thus far in the competition He is joined by fellow Wallabies Stephen Moore, Scott Higginbotham and Quade Cooper, who have all been named in the starting XV
There will also be potential debuts for Markus Vanzati, Izack Rodda and Izaia Perese who have been 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 we'll be back playing at Suncorp Stadium in front of our home fans. We've all had this date circled on 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 [Brisbane] 10s 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," Stiles said.
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia'ua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Markus Vanzati, 18 Sef Fa'agase, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Izaia Perese.
Date: Friday, February 24
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19.00 (09.00 GMT; 11.00 CAT)
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Nic Berry (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)