St.George Queensland Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper will be given the honour of captaining Queensland in Saturday night’s historic tour match against The British & Irish Lions at Suncorp Stadium.
With seven current Australian squad members unavailable for selection, Cooper will enter the game as Queensland’s most capped Wallaby with 38 appearances and with an impeccable Test record at Suncorp Stadium having won all four matches he has played for Australia at the venue.
Cooper has also been invaluable to the Reds’ Super Rugby efforts in 2013 and has played every minute of all 15 regular season matches in the number 10 jersey.
“Quade is a proven winner and real facilitator of success here at the Reds and the reality is that we win more games with him in the side,” Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said.
“But, what most people don’t know or see is the responsibility and ownership he takes on with regards to our gameplan. Quade has now had four years of direct leadership involvement in this space, not just in calling the game, but in advocating our gameplan and problem solving during the week.
“Right now, with seven current Wallabies unavailable, he is also our most experienced international player.
“When I first arrived at the Reds we didn’t have many leaders, but we’ve spent a lot of time developing this within our group.
“We did this because it’s important that it’s not always just about the captain or vice-captain but the volume of people who make decisions. In the end, we will need a lot of leaders tomorrow night.”
Cooper said it would be an honour to captain Queensland.
“The history and tradition that surrounds The British & Irish Lions obviously speaks for itself, so it will be quite humbling to lead Queensland out on Saturday night,” Cooper said.
“It’s a proud moment anytime you get to lead a side but the fact that I’ve been at the Reds since I was 15 years old just adds to the occasion on a personal level and I’m really looking forward it.
“The Lions are also an extremely formidable opponent and one we have a huge amount of respect for. That respect just adds to why we are taking them so seriously.”
Friday’s captaincy announcement has also coincided with the launch of the Queensland Reds v British & Irish Lions jersey auction with the general public now able to bid for the special edition tour match jerseys to be worn by the Reds tomorrow night.
Supporters can enter their bid for all 23 individually signed gameday jerseys via the Queensland Reds FanZone page before the auction closes on Friday 14 June at 2:30pm.
For more auction details and to bid visit – https://fanzone.redsrugby.com.au/content/reds-v-british-irish-lions-jersey-auction.
Saturday’s match represents a rare opportunity for the Reds to take on the Northern Hemisphere giants, who boast a combination of the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, during just their third visit to Australia in 24 years, and first since 2001.
The match forms the basis of what will be a nine-game tour for The British & Irish Lions, which also includes three headline Test matches against the Wallabies, beginning with the highly anticipated opening match at the Reds fortress, Suncorp Stadium, on June 22.
Never playing at home, and only assembling for overseas visits, The British & Irish Lions travel to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa on a rotational basis every four years.
They are one of sport’s most celebrated international teams and are expected to have the support of up to 40,000 travelling fans during their time on Australia shores.
All nine-game Queensland Reds Members in 2013 have already purchased a ticket for this match and are simply required to bring their 2013 Reds Membership card on gameday to gain entry. This card also allows nine-game Members free public transport to and from the event.
Members with further enquiries should contact the Reds Membership Team on 1300 733 899.
St.George Queensland Reds team to play The British & Irish Lions
1. Ben Daley (58 Reds - 3 Wallabies)
2. James Hanson (50 Reds - 1 Wallabies)
3. Greg Holmes (103 Reds - 13 Wallabies)
4. Adam Wallace-Harrison (vc) (32 Reds)
5. Ed O’Donoghue (40 Reds)
6. Eddie Quirk (27 Reds)
7. Beau Robinson (35 Reds - 1 Wallabies)
8. Jake Schatz (47 Reds)
9. Nick Frisby (16 Reds)
10. Quade Cooper (c) (87 Reds - 38 Wallabies)
11. Luke Morahan (44 Reds - 1 Wallabies)
12. Anthony Faingaa (58 Reds - 23 Wallabies)
13. Ben Tapuai (38 Reds - 7 Wallabies)
14. Rod Davies (43 Reds - 1 Wallabies)
15. Ben Lucas (60 Reds)
16. Albert Anae (15 Reds)
17. Sam Denny (Queensland debut)
18. Jono Owen (Queensland debut)
19. Radike Samo (32 Reds - 23 Wallabies)
20. Jarrad Butler (12 Reds)
21. Jono Lance (18 Reds)
22. Mike Harris (30 Reds - 8 Wallabies)
23. Dom Shipperley (33 Reds - 8 Wallabies)