Queensland Reds centurions Will Genia and James Horwill will play their final home game for the state this weekend, after being named in the starting side to take on the Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium.
Head coach Richard Graham has named an unchanged starting team for Saturday’s match, while the reserves bench features the return of Saia Fainga’a from a rib injury and the potential debut of New Zealand-born Japanese Test player Hendrik Tui, who has recovered from a broken leg suffered while playing in Japan. Graham has named an extended nine-man bench, with one player to be omitted before kick off.
Graham said it was good to be able to reward them for their win over the Force with consistency in selection.
“It’s a good position to be in. The team have performed well and we have a clean bill of health,” he said.
“The run home is an important one. We want to finish the season as well as we can. That is the most important focus we have as a team right now.
“Obviously there are other things going on around the game but all the team can focus on is what we control and that is our preparation and attitude.
“Playing their last home game is a big occasion for James (Horwill) and Will (Genia) given their 10 years playing with the Queensland Reds, however we all know that what will make the night a lasting memory is the performance of the team. That is the best way to show the guys how much they value their contributions.
“We are hopeful of a big crowd. There are a lot of people who will not only remember the boys for their service to Rugby in Queensland but also their leadership and play when the Reds won the 2011 championship. Add the Chiefs to the mix and it’ll be a fantastic night at Suncorp Stadium.”
With a combined total of 232 caps for Queensland, Genia and Horwill are considered two of the modern greats of the Reds.
They first played together for the Reds against the Crusaders in Round 2 of the 2007 Super Rugby season and have gone on to become the most-capped Reds players in their respective positions in Super Rugby.
The pair were captain and vice-captain together for five seasons, including the 2011 Super Rugby championship. Horwill is also the most-capped captain in the club’s history, having led the Reds on 69 occasions over eight seasons, before relinquishing the title to incoming skipper James Slipper this year.
With both players joining overseas clubs following the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Queensland Rugby will celebrate their careers at their final home match this weekend. The event will include pre and post-match commemorations, with fans invited onto the field following the game.
This week’s match also marks Reds Indigenous Round. The Reds will play in a unique jersey designed by Aboriginal artist Stephen Hogarth. The artwork represents the coming together of communities from across Queensland. This signed match jerseys will be auctioned, with profits going to the Queensland Reds Indigenous Program Education Scholarship. Bids can be placed here.
A retail replica jersey, training tee and singlet (adult sizes only) featuring the Reds Indigenous design will be available for sale at the game and through the Reds online shop here.
While Reds prop Ben Daley will miss the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury, he continues to support various charities through his ‘Be Great, Do Good’ campaign. This week he is supporting the St.George Queensland Reds Indigenous Program Scholarship. ‘Be Great, Do Good’ is an initiative by Daley, in which he will support a different charity every week through a unique headgear to raise awareness and funds for their cause. Click here for more information.
Queensland Reds side to play Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium
1. James Slipper (C)
2. James Hanson
3. Greg Holmes
4. Rob Simmons (VC)
5. James Horwill
6. Adam Thomson
7. Liam Gill
8. Jake Schatz
9. Will Genia
10. Quade Cooper
11. Lachie Turner
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Karmichael Hunt
14. Chris Feauai-Sautia
15. James O’Connor
Extended bench (one to be omitted)
Hendrik Tui (potential debut)