Reds to lock in key trio - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds to lock in key trio

By Jim Morton 14/04/2011 06:20:43 PM Comments (0)

Table-topping Queensland are set to keep the good news rolling with key Wallabies trio James Horwill, Digby Ioane and Ben Daley to re-sign with the Reds in the coming days.

And the Reds, eyeing a Super Rugby record-winning streak on Saturday night, are also as confident as they can be that exciting playmaker Quade Cooper will remain at Ballymore after this year's World Cup and look to mark himself as a long-time Test great.

Queensland chief executive Jim Carmichael on Thursday indicated the off-contract stars were about to be locked into new deals with the Australian Rugby Union and QRU while Cooper is also set to confirm the two-year agreement he made with the Reds in 2010.

"I watch with bemusement in the press that he may go here and he may go there and rugby league and the rest of it," Carmichael told AAP.

"What he's doing now is finalising his arrangements with the ARU but we have a two-year agreement with Quade as a minimum and I see the young man all the time and he's very happy.

"I'm very, very comfortable with where we are with (Horwill, Ioane and Daley) and at the appropriate time we'll be making an announcement on all of that which isn't too far away.

"As far as player stocks, I'm a very relaxed CEO."

Skipper Horwill, three-quarter Ioane and prop Daley have been among the Reds' leading lights in 2011 as they have surged to the top of the competition table on the back of six straight wins.

Carmichael also dismissed reports veteran lock Van Humphries and bullocking No.8 Leroy Houston had been told to look elsewhere for opportunities beyond this season.

Wallabies utility back James O'Connor is in the sights of the Reds but they will not attempt to match the Melbourne Rebels financially and will try to lure the Gold Coast product back home from the Western Force through their on-field exploits.

The chance to play beside good friend Cooper is seen as an important carrot to possibly jag the 20-year-old.

The stocks of Cooper, the 2010 Australian Super Rugby player of the year, have continued to rise in the equal franchise record streak, showcasing his growing maturity with both great game management as well as his signature attacking flair.

Coach Ewen McKenzie has been delighted with the way the 23-year-old has carried out his instructions to the letter and says the Waikato-born five-eighth is driven to become a great of the game.

"Being a (24-Test) Wallaby is an achievement but I'm sure he'll want more than that," McKenzie said. "I'm sure he'd like to be known as a great player and as a great player you have to do your time.

"There's lots of stuff unfinished and there's challenges there that haven't been achieved."

In the only change to the Reds starting side for Saturday night's clash with the defending champion Bulls, fringe Wallabies hooker Saia Faingaa has regained his place in the front row at the expense of rising rake James Hanson.

On the bench McKenzie has brought in prop Greg Holmes to replace Guy Shepherdson and utility back Ben Lucas (groin) returns from injury for Ian Prior.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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