Reds Super Rugby head coach Nick Stiles has named departing stalwart Rob Simmons in his team to play the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.
Simmons has been named as starting blindside flanker in his final home game for the Reds, in one of a number of changes head coach Nick Stiles has made to the team for its penultimate match of the 2017 Super Rugby season.
Simmons has been named in the Number 6 jersey in place of the injured Hendrik Tui, who returned from international duties with shoulder and rib complaints.
In one of two other changes to the forward pack, Stephen Moore returns to starting hooker and will captain the side in the absence of injured centre Samu Kerevi (ankle).
The match will be Moore’s 176th Super Rugby appearance, which sees him overtake former All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu as the second-most capped Super Rugby player of all time.
Adam Korczyk also returns to the starting side at Number 8, in place of Scott Higginbotham, who has also been ruled out of Friday’s clash due to a lingering neck injury.
Stiles has also made two changes to the backline, with Campbell Magnay promoted to starting outside centre, in place of Kerevi, and winger Izaia Perese back in the starting side after returning from representing the Australian U20s.
Recently re-signed loose forward Caleb Timu is again in line to make his Queensland and Super Rugby debut after being named in the reserves.
Stiles said: “Friday night’s clash is important for a number of reasons. It’s our last opportunity to play in front of our home fans this season, it’s Rob’s last game in Queensland colours at Suncorp Stadium and we’ve got a point to prove against the Brumbies, after a disappointing result against them earlier in the year.
“It’s a significant game. It’s important the group recognise that and make the most of it. We’ve got a great opportunity to put in a strong performance and acknowledge the contribution Rob has made to Queensland over a long period of time.”
Friday night’s match is also Queensland Rugby Union’s sixth annual Indigenous Round, which this year coincides with NAIDOC Week celebrations.
The team will wear a unique Indigenous Round jersey, designed by 15-year-old Reds Indigenous Program participant Janita Langton.
Langton is from Cherbourg and is a proud Ewamian woman. She is currently in Year 11 at Murgon State High School.
“I’ve been part of the Reds program since I was in Year 7 at Cherbourg State School,” Langton said.
“I was part of the jersey presentation to the Reds last year and it inspired me to want to design this year’s jersey. I’m really proud of what I achieved. I’m speechless to be able to design a jersey that I’ll see the Reds play in. I’m just really happy.
“For the jersey design, I used Torres Strait, Aboriginal and Australian colours to represent all of us as we all come together.
“The five big circles represent us all gathering as a family. The red circle represents the genes of us people, the reddish-brown dots on the outside represents the earth we are standing on and the blue represents the sea.”
As part of her involvement in the program and in recognition of her artwork, Langton has also received a bursary from the Office of the Commonwealth Games.
The 2017 Reds Indigenous Round has added significance as it comes just a month after Queensland Rugby Union launched its Reconciliation Action Plan.
The Indigenous Round match will also see the awarding of the Frank Ivory Medal to the Reds player of the match. The medal is named after Queensland’s first Indigenous player.
The Indigenous Round match-day jerseys will be auctioned at www.redsrugby.com.au to raise funds for the Reds Foundation.
The Queensland Reds Future Indigenous Leaders Program is made possible through the support of Rio Tinto. Reds Generation Next is supported by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
1. Sef Fa’agase , 2. Stephen Moore (C) , 3. Taniela Tupou , 4. Kane Douglas , 5. Izack Rodda , 6. Rob Simmons , 7. George Smith , 8. Adam Korczyk , 9. James Tuttle , 10. Quade Cooper , 11. Eto Nabuli , 12. Duncan Paia’aua , 13. Campbell Magnay , 14. Izaia Perese , 15. Karmichael Hunt
Replacements : 16. Alex Mafi , 17. Markus Vanzati , 18. Sam Talakai , 19. Cadeyrn Neville , 20. Caleb Timu , 21. Moses Sorovi , 22. Hamish Stewart , 23. Chris Kuridrani