South Africa hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Curtis Browning, but the Reds back rower is hoping that all changes on Saturday.
It was in his first Super Rugby tour last year that his season was abruptly ended by a serious knee injury against the Cheetahs.
Almost a year on, Browning has been named to fill the shoes of injured number eight Jake Schatz, who will miss a month with a medial injury.
Browning has played mainly off the bench for the Reds this season, though stepped up to the starting side while openside Liam Gill was injured, and said he was just happy to string some consistent games together.
“I was in good hands from the start,” he said.
“There was a lot of time over the off-season (recovering) and then missing the entire NRC but it’s feeling great, feeling strong and it’s good to be given the opportunity to be back in the team.”
Browning admitted he prefers to play blindside or in the number eight spot, after filling in at openside for GIll.
“I just want to be out there. Gilly was out for the first few rounds so I filled in and now I have another opportunity to step into number eight,” he said.
“I’d ideally play six or eight but I’m happy to play wherever the team needs me to."
The Stormers clash will be an especially tough test for Browning and the entire Reds back row, facing a lineup that includes Springbok Schalk Burger.
Browning said he would relish the chance to line up against the hulking Burger.
“Schalk Burger has been one of the top back rowers in the competition over a period of time so it’s always good to test yourself against the best,” he said.
"I’m looking forward to doing that myself and the team is too."
“Coming up against a tough opponent at home, coming to their home ground so hopefully everything clicks and we work hard and turn up physically and mentally and put in a good result.”
The Reds have won just once in Newlands in the past five years, with their last victory coming in their championship year of 2011.
A win would finish off their South African tour on a high, after a 19-point loss to the Bulls.
The Reds take on the Stormers in Newlands on Saturday night at 11pm AEST LIVE on FOXSPORTS.