Horwill returns to lead Reds
Horwill returns to lead RedsSHARE
The Queensland Reds have received a major boost ahead of the Super Rugby season, with Wallabies captain James Horwill set to return from injury when the they host reigning Super Rugby champions the Chiefs on the Sunshine Coast on Friday.
The talented lock will lead the Reds into action in their second and final trial match before their Super Rugby campaign begins on February 16 against the Brumbies in Canberra.
Horwill will be joined by a number of other returning players on Friday – with Saia Faingaa, Jake Schatz, Dom Shipperley and Chris F'Sautia also passed fit to play, while lock Rob Simmons will join Horwill in the starting XV following the completion of a five-game suspension.
In total, 11 capped Wallabies from 2012 will feature for the Reds in their trial game against the Chiefs.
This includes prop James Slipper; hookers James Hanson and Saia Faingaa; locks Simmons and Horwill; flanker Liam Gill; centres Mike Harris and Ben Tapuai; wingers Digby Ioane and Shipperley; and fullback Luke Morahan.
Horwill said he was excited to return to the Rugby field on Friday.
"I'm a terrible spectator at the best of times, so it's a huge relief to be out of Team Rehab and in a position to play once again," Horwill said.
"We've been extremely diligent in not rushing the rehab process to ensure that my hamstring would be ready for when the Super Rugby season kicked off. It's exciting to now be at that stage and I'm just looking forward to Friday.
"It's important we are building momentum heading into the Super Rugby season. We've already had a strong hit-out against the Blues but the Chiefs are a completely new challenge, so the onus is on everyone to take their game to another level and push for selection in round one."
The Chiefs trial game will allow the Reds to put the finishing touches on their pre-season preparation after beginning the year in style with an entertaining 41-35 victory over the Blues in Toowoomba on Saturday.
Friday's match will also see the Super Rugby champions of the past two seasons go head-to-head for the first time since their enthralling round 12 contest last year which produced 10 tries with the Reds finishing victorious 42-27.
Queensland Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 James Horwill (captain), 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements – form: Albert Anae, James Hanson, Jono Owen, Ed O'Donaghue, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Nigel Ah Wong, Curtis Browning, Jarrad Butler, Nick Frisby, Dion Taumata, Chris F'Sautia, Aidan Toua, Dom Shipperley.
Date: Friday, February 8
Venue: Stockland Stadium, Sunshine Coast
Kick-off: 19.00 (09.00 GMT)
Referees: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia), Paul Haydock (Australia)