Big shoes await Scott Higginbotham after the backrower was named to make his Super 14 starting debut against the Blues at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Foxsport reports that the 21-year-old former Australian Sevens player will fill in for former captain John Roe (shoulder) who joined a Reds injury list that still features skipper Sam Cordingley (calf).
Reds scrum half Cordingley has been given another week’s rest.
Blindside flanker Roe has not recovered from the shoulder injury that forced him off in the first half of last Saturday’s gutsy loss to the Chiefs.
In better news for Queensland, winger Digby Ioane (broken finger) has earned a starting spot ahead of Brando Vaaulu after showing he’s recovered from a broken finger with a strong performance off the bench against the Chiefs.
Winger Peter Hynes (ankle), scrum half Ben Lucas (knee) and reserve scrum half Will Genia (ankle) have all recovered from injuries sustained against the Chiefs.
And Australia full-back Chris Latham is expected to return from his knee injury next week.
Tighthead prop Dayna Edwards has been rotated back into the starting side after swapping jerseys with Rodney Blake for the Chiefs match.
Lock James Horwill again captains the side in Cordingley’s absence.
Higginbotham earned the first of his two caps as a replacement against the Bulls in round five.
“Scott has a big pair of boots to fill (as Roe’s replacement) but we’re confident he’ll have a real dig and that’s what we need from our whole back row against the Blues – a high work rate and solid defence,” Reds coach Phil Mooney said.
Reds: 15. Clinton Schifcofske, 14. Digby Ioane, 13. Morgan Turinui, 12.Berrick Barnes, 11. Peter Hynes, 10. Quade Cooper, 9. Ben Lucas, 8. Leroy Houston, 7. David Croft, 6. Scott Higginbotham, 5. James Horwill (c), 4. Van Humphries, 3. Dayna Edwards, 2. Stephen Moore, 1. Ben Coutts.
Reserves: 16.Sean Hardman, 17. Rodney Blake, 18. Ed O’Donoghue, 19. Poutasi Luafutu, 20. Will Genia, 21. Charlie Fetoai, 22. Brando Va’aulu