I'm not walking out on Reds: Horwill - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

I'm not walking out on Reds: Horwill

By Darren Walton 01/08/2009 05:10:58 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies enforcer James Horwill was frothing at the mouth even before touching down in South Africa ahead of next week's Tri Nations clash with the Springboks.

And it had nothing to do with salivating over the prospect of going head to head with the most fearsome forward pack in world rugby.

No, Horwill was seething over speculation in Australia he could be the next high-profile player to walk out on the Queensland Reds, following Berrick Barnes' mid-week decision to join the NSW Waratahs for the 2010 Super 14 season and Hugh McMeniman's announcement last month he was heading to Japan.

The Reds captain was bemused about rumours he too wanted out and wanted to set the record straight.

"I'm 100 per cent with the Reds next year," Horwill told AAP.

"I don't know if you can do more than hold a press conference to announce your signing, like I did a couple of months ago.

"It's disappointing this has come out, especially at this (delicate) time. It's like trying to kick a good man while he's down.

"The loss of Berrick is disappointing, but what's done is done. We can't do anything about that now. We just need to move on and move forward."

Horwill, who is contracted to the Reds and the Australian Rugby Union until after the 2011 World Cup, said he understood Barnes's decision.

"It's always disappointing when you lose players, especially guys who are proud Queenslanders, and he's also a good friend," he said.

"But that's part of professional football. Players move around. It's pretty obvious there's a lot of players playing for different clubs now."

Horwill said it required a joint effort from the Queensland players and Reds administration to ensure the battling franchise stopped the bleeding and prevented a mass exodus of personnel in the coming seasons.

"We've just got to be better at what we do to try and retain them and keep them at Queensland," he said.

"Winning always helps. A winning team obviously attracts more attention and makes you more appealing to players.

"But we also need to make sure our retention plan is there and that we're doing everything we can to keep the players we've got and also recruit some key players, and that's what we'll be doing over the next couple of years."

Dynamic Wallabies three-quarter Digby Ioane has also been linked to a move to NSW next year, but Horwill said there was no reason for the Reds to hit the panic button.

He was confident Queensland would be more than competitive in 2010.

"We've got a lot of guys who will probably be a lot better after a year of Super 14," Horwill said.

"There's a lot of guys there who are on the verge of some big things, young guys who a lot of people wouldn't have heard of."

Horwill was particularly excited about halfback Will Genia's future with the Reds, following the 21-year-old's recent promotion into the Wallabies squad.

"He'll become a better player just from being part of this program for hopefully six months until the end of the year," Horwill said.

"He'll bring a new aspect to our play next year and I'm sure he'll just get better and better."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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