Wallabies prop Holmes to captain Reds - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies prop Holmes to captain Reds

By Laine Clark 27/01/2009 06:51:27 PM Comments (0)

Queensland's captaincy roundabout has stopped at Wallabies prop Greg Holmes as the Reds ramp up their Super 14 season countdown.

Holmes will lead a strong Queensland outfit in a trial against the Blues at Auckland on Friday night after Leroy Houston held the reins in last weekend's pre-season opener, a 17-5 loss to NSW at Toowoomba.

Berrick Barnes is officially the interim captain until James Horwill returns from a foot injury in March.

However, Barnes (knee) won't be back for the Reds until their pre-season finale against Western Force at Ballymore on February 5.

Reds coach Phil Mooney said on Tuesday the captaincy for the Blues clash was a just reward for Holmes after working hard to come back from yet another season-disrupting injury.

After a shoulder reconstruction derailed his 2007 campaign, Holmes was reduced to eight Super 14 games last season due to knee surgery.

Mooney said Holmes had shown he could lead from the front when he co-captained a Queensland Reds development tour of Europe last year.

"He responds to leadership, it certainly brings out the best in him," he said of Holmes who has 13 Test and 34 Queensland caps to his name.

"Greg is part of the leadership group and with Berrick and James out I believe he is probably the best suited to lead the team this week.

"It's a great reward for him.

"He's worked very hard in the off-season and this is more responsibility that he deserves."

Holmes looked to make up for lost time.

"There were a couple of tough years, I dropped away from the international scene," he said.

"Now I have a good pre-season under my belt, I want to have a really big year for Queensland - it's a good stepping stone."

Former All Blacks flanker Daniel Braid will make his Queensland debut against his old team the Blues on Friday night.

"I suppose he'll have some mixed feelings running out in a different coloured jersey against a lot of his friends," Mooney said.

"I guess if he wanted to pick a place to start his Queensland career it'd probably be over in Auckland against the Blues."

Quade Cooper will chime in at flyhalf, with 2008 Wallabies tour team-mates Peter Hynes and Digby Ioane on the wings and flanker Hugh McMeniman also making his 2009 return.

World Cup Wallaby hooker Sean Hardman will come off the bench for his first Reds appearance this year while former Wallabies outside centre Morgan Turinui will start after coming off the bench against NSW.

The trial will also mark another step forward for league convert Mark McLinden who was tested by NSW last weekend.

"It's good to have his first run with two Wallaby wingers, that will make his job a lot easier," Mooney said.

The Reds kick off their Super 14 campaign against the Bulls in Pretoria on February 14.

Queensland trial squad: Mark McLinden, Digby Ioane, Morgan Turinui, Anthony Faingaa, Peter Hynes, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Hugh McMeniman, Van Humphries, Robert Simmons, Dayna Edwards, Saia Faingaa, Greg Holmes (capt). Reserves: Sean Hardman, Laurie Weeks, Ben Daley, Scott Higginbotham, Poutasi Luafutu, Ben Lucas, Brando Va'aulu, Blair Connor, Rod Davies.

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