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Higginbotham happy to be back with Reds

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Former Queensland Super Rugby star Scott Higginbotham says that he is happy to be back home after returning to Ballymore following his Japanese club, the NEC Green Rockets, played their final Top League match.

Having grown up on the Gold Coast, Higginbotham was happy to be back in Queensland in familiar surroundings at Ballymore.

“I’ve always considered Queensland my home, I grew up here,” Higginbotham said.

“I decided that while I’m still able to play Rugby to the best of my ability I want to play in one of the top competitions,” he said.

Higginbotham will hit the training paddock next week, joining former St. George Queensland Reds teammates Quade Cooper and Stephen Moore who also re-signed with the Reds for the 2017 season.

“I think it points out the uniqueness and feeling behind playing for Queensland that blokes want to come back,” he said in a Reds press release.

“Quade is a fairly iconic Queensland player, a fantastic player and fantastic leader to have in this team. Guys like him, Stephen Moore, the Wallaby captain, you can’t fault the experience of the players that are coming back into the Queensland system.”

On top of those returning Queenslanders, Higginbotham is likely to pack down, at some stage, alongside former Wallaby George Smith, who is currently representing Suntory Sungoliath with fellow Reds’ backrower Hendrik Tui.

Higginbotham attended Suntory’s Top League victory over Kobe Kobelco and was amazed by the 36-year-old flanker.

“He’s 36 and he got player of the tournament in England (last year). I actually watched him play last weekend in Japan and you could have fooled me that he’s 36, I’d say he’s 25, he’s a fantastic player.”

Despite last playing for the Reds in 2012, Higginbotham more recently represented the 2015 National Rugby Championship winners McInnes Wilson Lawyers Brisbane City, playing under Nick Stiles and alongside a number of players in the 2017 squad.

“I played the NRC season here, so I know quite a lot of the boys and the coaches. I’ve got a lot of good memories here, but I’m not looking to relive them, I’m looking to make new ones and enjoy my time here in Queensland again,” he said.

On top of his NRC success with City, the dynamic ball runner was also a key member of the Reds 2011 Super Rugby winning side, with fellow Reds recruits, Cooper and Leroy Houston.

“Winning it the first time is always special. Leroy and myself would love to win a premiership again, but there’s a lot of work to be done before that’s even a consideration.”

The Reds first outing of the year will be at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens at Suncorp stadium on February 11-12, before a pre-season match against the Melbourne Rebels at Ballymore on February 14.

The Super Rugby season gets underway on February 24 when the Reds host the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.

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