The Queensland Reds are coming off a disappointing 2014 season, winning only eight matches, and finishing 13th overall. However, a busy off-season, and a healthy squad, with some new recruits will mean the 2011 Champions will be a force to be reckoned with in 2015.
In the opening trial, Richard Graham was focused on his rookie players gaining experience against the Melbourne Rebels, after 40% of the squad on the night made their debut. Although the Rebels were victorious, the Reds certainly showed their flair for the members and fans in far North Queensland.
Naming a more experienced team for their final pre-season clash against the Crusaders, the Reds came out firing, breaking out to a 28-0 lead early in front of boisterous home crowd of 11,270. The forward pack dominated, and Karmichael Hunt led from the front in his first match at flyhalf. The Reds ended up winning 35-12, which included a double from former Qantas Wallabies captain James Horwill.
The most talked about team in the off-season after the recruitment of Karmichael Hunt from the AFL and James O’Connor from Toulon following an 18 month stint in Europe. Both players adding skill, experience and depth to an already impressive backline that boasts Quade Cooper & Will Genia.
While not new signings, the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship also showed off young talent in Chris Kuridrani & Samu Kerevi, who will be looking to cement a spot in the Reds starting line-up thanks to their powerful running and ball carrying ability.
Player to Watch
After being promoted to captain of the Queensland Reds last month, James Slipper will be a player to watch in 2015. At just 25 years of age Slipper has 65 Super Rugby caps and 63 Test caps to his name, and will be looking to lead his side to their first Super Rugby title since 2011.
Former Queensland Reds captain James Horwill said it was the right time for Slipper to lead the men from Queensland.
"The best thing for the Reds going forward was to promote James Slipper to the Captaincy. There's a great respect amongst the players for Slips"
Slipper showed his value in 2014 after finishing third in the John Eales Medal, and being named Qantas Wallabies Vice-Captain alongside Adam Ashley-Cooper.
The Queensland Reds take on the ACT Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra at 7.40 AEST Friday 13 February with the match to be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS.
With only two days until the 2015 season commences, it isn’t too late to become a Queensland Reds member TODAY!