Reds' backrow bolter in for Sharks clash

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Wallabies legend George Smith will become the 1307th player to represent Queensland when he pulls on the Number 7 in Friday night's match against the Sharks.

He is the only debutant in the starting side, as coach Nick Stiles today named the strongest Reds starting XV in many years.

Smith will pack down with returning recruit Scott Higginbotham and the Ballymore bolter, Adam Korczyk, in the backrow.

The Auckland-born Korczyk plays like a South African openside flanker, with his 107kg frame allowing him to ferociously attack the breakdown on the defensive side of the ball while making a dent in defensive lines with his carries.Adam Korczyk has seriously impressed the Ballymore brains trust. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThere have been enormous wraps for the 22-year-old since he first caught the eye of coach Nick Stiles when he was coaching Brisbane City in the inaugural NRC in 2014.

But there is no bigger wrap than starting ahead of Hendrik Tui and Leroy Houston - the former being one of the Reds' first-picked players throughout 2016.

"He came into NRC year one with me and he was a skinny little kid to be honest," Stiles said on Korcyzk.

"We went over and played a game in Perth, played against their full Super Rugby side effectively and his ruthlessness and ferociousness over the breakdown was just incredible.Reds fans will be happy to see this man back on the team sheet for Friday night's opener. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"He has come off an ACL last year and his professionalism is right up there with David Pocock's."

Chris Kuridrani has edged ahead of rookie Izaia Perese to start on the right wing, with Eto Nabuli resuming on the team's left flank.

Perese is one of three potential debutants, with prop Markus Vanzati and lock Izack Rodda also named on the bench.

TEAM

Queensland Reds team to play the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium

1. James Slipper (C)
2. Stephen Moore
3. Sam Talakai
4. Rob Simmons
5. Kane Douglas
6. Adam Korczyk
7. George Smith (Queensland debut)
8. Scott Higginbotham
9. Nick Frisby
10. Quade Cooper
11. Eto Nabuli
12. Duncan Paia’aua
13. Samu Kerevi
14. Chris Kuridrani
15. Karmichael Hunt

RESERVES

16. Andrew Ready
17. Markus Vanzati (Potential Queensland/Super Rugby debut)
18. Sef Fa’agase
19. Izack Rodda (Potential Queensland/Super Rugby debut)
20. Hendrik Tui
21. James Tuttle
22. Jake McIntyre
23. Izaia Perese (Potential Queensland/Super Rugby debut)

The Reds take on the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, kicking off at 7pm AEST, broadcast live on Fox Sports.

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